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Volume one 
Spring, 1984 


Rita B. Enzmann 


Michael J. A I wan 


Mary Alsten Johnson 


Dr. Richard Raymond 

Armstrong State College 
A Unit of the University System of Georgia 


My sincere thanks to the many students, particularly Mark Barner, 
Chris Fuhrman, and Jeff Smith; and faculty, especially Mr. Art Prosser, 
Mr. John Stegall, Mr. Richard Nordquist, and Dr. Robert Strozier whose 
encouragement, time, and insight have made Calliope possible. 

For their faithful support and genuine interest in the artistic merit of 
Calliope, special credit goes to Mary Johnson, Art Consultant; Michael 
Alwan, Associate Editor; and Dr. Richard Raymond, Faculty Advisor. 

This first issue of Calliope is deducated to Dr. Bradford Crain, whose 
interest and advice helped begin this endeavor; and to Dr. Richard Ray- 
mond, whose experience, hard work, accessibility, and gentle encourage- 
ment were essential in bringing Calliope to completion. 

For me, being editor of Calliope has been an opportunity to learn and 
grow with those around me as we selected material, overcame funding pro- 
blems, space limitations, and layout deadlines. I encourage all those in- 
terested, to contribute material to future issues of Calliope, and to join our 
staff and help put together the next issues. 

To the artists themselves, who share within the covers of this volume a 
bit of magic ~ I extend my deepest appreciation. "Magic, a metaphor for 
the marvelous in art, becomes a creative alternative to suicide." As we en- 
joy these glimmers of magic, these echoes of old dreams and hopes new and 
daring, may we each appreciate a little bit more that magic which surrounds 
us daily. 

Quoted from a lecture by Dr. Crain to the Touchstone Club, July 10, 1983, 
titled: "Masks, Mirrors, and Magic: Fantasy as Autobiography in the 
works of Hesse and Yeats." 

Mary Alsten Johnson 

"When I have fears that I may cease to be 
Before my pen has glean 'd my teeming brain, 
Before high-piled books, in charactery, 
Hold like rich garners the full ripen 'd grain. . . 





Maria Smith 


Charleston, 1970 
Steve Ealy 



Mark A. Hulme 



Dave Lagrange 



Claudia Turner Welch 



Neil Satterfield 



Dana Wise Stern 



Janet Andrews 



Sharon Elmore 



J ana Belmoff 



Janet Andrews 



James Land Jones 




Hugh Pendexter HI 

Dana Wise Stern 



Jane Ann Patchak 



Robert Strozier 


Steve Ealy 



Dana Wise Stern 

Patricia Robinson-King 



Michael J. A I wan 





Vicki Hill 



Marilyn Daniels 



the Wife of Bath's sister 

Misty DeGross 



Chris Fuhrman 




Rita B. Enzmann 



Mary Alsten Johnson 

Cover and Drawings Designed By Mary Alsten Johnson 

Executed By Johan Du Toit 

Photograph By Mary Alsten Johnson 


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nov ember 1969 
your long brown hair 
gleams copper 
in the sun 

and our familiar path 
seems strange 
dressed in its 
sienna frock 
and trees are 

orange red gold 
filigree umbrellas 
as we walk from school 
with a birthday to celebrate 

(your sixteenth) 

at a formica-topped table 

we indulge in 

full to the brim 

bowls of soup 

and burn our tongues 

as we sip 

& the clock on the kitchen stove ticks 
& the kitchen is white and open 
& the refrigerator hums to the beat 

while we plot our course 
with tarot cards 
on your bed on the floor 
of the tiny striped 
blue/green room 

and the cherub you sketched 
watches us 

from her place on the wall 
as we summon spirits 
with coconut incense 

they mock us 
but we turn away 

to revel in 

our togetherness 


in cotton gowns 

(soft against our skins) 
we wait for darkness 

to descend 
you light a tiki-face candle 
and the phantom dance begins 

on the ceiling 

we meditate 

as fire 

fills his head 

and glows 

through his open eyes 

into ours 

a hot tear melts 

from a sad 





a slack 




music encircles us 
like smoke from a pipe 

& the clock on the kitchen stove ticks 
& the kitchen is white and open 
& the refigerator hums to the beat 

of our hearts 
intertwined in sleep 
in the cool 
november room 
so far away 

and the frozen 
tiki-face stares 
moon-eyed by the window 
at the fallen leaves 
silver in the dawn 

Maria Smith 

Southern Reflections 

/: Charleston, 1970 

Jesus saves. Elect Wallace Drink 
Dr. Pepper. Impeach Earl Warren. Slave, 
nigger, negra, colored, colored- 
Only, Negro, Black, nigger. 
Hang high from a tree, 
Hang as high as we can see, 
Hang high so we can win, 
Hang to save us from our sin. 
Jesus saves Earl Warren. 
Impeach Dr. Pepper. Earl 
Warren is the road to salvation. 
Impeach Jesus. Dr. Pepper saves. 
Pray for George Wallace. 

The warm breeze drawls around me 

As I stand, near where Stede Bonnet hung, 

Looking over the desolate Battery, 

To where the war began. 

A land broken like an old man 

Across Amor on' s knee. Defeated. 

An adopted son, I drink the bittersweet 

Wine I do not have to drink; 

I make it mine, and the red clay flows 

Through my veins. I love my land: 

I laugh and cry, live and die, 

Hope and pray. 

Great joy and great misery, 

It is hard to have a history. 

Steve Ealy 



You were with me; 
not some imagined houri: 
for a segment in time 
it was you. 

Vanished from me, 
as if some time traveler from the 
fourth dimension had 
whisked you away. 

No, it was just he, 

coming around to carry you off again, 
snatching you from my fingertips 
as if a paper doll. 

And then it seemed 
as if you had never been there 
or were an imagined image 
conjured from a nebulous air, 

Returned to the mists 

of the chanting cigarettes, 

the moaning throng in orgasmic unison. 

Mark A. Hulme 


A Day at the Lake 

Dave Lagrange 

This paper was written for Dr. Richard Raymond's Composition 101 
class, Fall quarter, 1983. 

Most of the rescue work I had done, in my years with the Coast Guard, 
had been routine. Even though I wasn't always successful, I had never 
allowed my personal feelings to surface. All of the training I had received 
had molded me into a calm professional, and I believed that fear didn't fit 
the mold. But on a warm day in 1979, Lake Huron taught me differently. 

I was the crewman aboard a helicopter, sent to evacuate five people 
from a boat which had been disabled by heavy seas. When we arrived, the 
boat was anchored, in heavy surf, near the Canadian side of the lake. Each 
wall of foaming green water drove the little craft closer to shore. The jagg- 
ed rocks, along the beach, looked like buzzards waiting for a fallen animal 
to die. My stomach turned at the thought of the frail vessel being ground to 
splinters on those monsters. As I advised the pilot how I intended to han- 
dle the rescue, the angry lake taunted us. Lifting the boat on the crest of the 
wave, holding the terrified people just out of reach, it would suddenly 
plunge them into a cavernous trough. The look of horror on the children's 
faces made me shiver. 

The plan was simple. A line, lowered to the boat, would then be tied to 
the basket. As the basket was lowered on the hoist, the man would pull it 
in. My hands began to tremble as I lowered the line to the helpless people 
below. The weighted end of the line landed on the deck; with a vise-like 
grip, the man grabbed it and held on. The pilot struggled to hold position 
above the floundering vessel as I tied the line to the basket and pushed it out 
the door. Although the hoist moved laboriously slow, the woman and three 
children were quickly lifted into the aircraft. Leaving the man behind, we 
dashed toward shore to deliver the four to safety. 

Once the ambulance attendants had removed our shivering cargo, we 
raced back to the battered craft. Now much closer to the waiting rocks, I 
had a sinking feeling that we wouldn't get the man off in time. My sweat 
soaked flight gloves made it difficult to handle the rope. With cold pincers 
of fear creeping up my spine, I found myself praying for steady hands. The 
man, now violently seasick, grabbed the rope in a deathgrip. He had 
managed to pull the descending basket within a foot of the boat when a sud- 
den shift in the waves spun the craft around. As it danced wildly on the 
waves, the motor hooked the basket. I began desperately jerking the hoist 
cable, trying to free it, when the boat plunged into another abysmal trough. 
Stretched like a guitar string, the hoist cable strained against the sudden 
weight. Suddenly, with a snap, the basket sprung free. It flew high into the 
air and landed inches from the man. "Up, Up, Up," I screamed into the 
headset; the pilot pulled the helicopter into a steep vertical climb. The man 
was suspended in mid-air, dangling like a puppet. As the aircraft started, 
slowly, toward shore, I punched the hydraulic release to reel the terrified 
marionette to safety. Once he was inside the craft, I collapsed into the 
crewman's seat. 


The flight home and landing were uneventful. As we taxied toward our 
parking spot, I tried to dry the tears that stained my cheeks. We had done 
it; we had gotten them all off. The only casualty was my own self image. I 
had lost my belief in the cold uncaring professional. I realized that even 
professionalism requires feeling. Although I had never been in danger, I 
had been as terrified as the people I was sent to rescue. 

I exited the 'chopper and trudged toward the hanger. "Tough one?" 
asked one of the ground crew. I looked at him for a very long second. 
"Nan, piece of cake!" 



To look within ourselves where answers lie, 
flung far beneath the realm of easy grasp 
made stronger by the wish to let them die 
yet knowing life requires such dreadful tasks- 
A searing pain, she feels it as before. 
It grips the thought and holds it like a vise. 
It lurches up then plunges down for more, 
and rising brings again the unchecked cries. 
She called it forth, this monster from her soul, 
the choice was hers: to battle or to run. 
Oh, what a price to pay for being bold! 
(She chides herself for thinking she had won). 
But somewhere in the calling forth, foretold 
a journey started-healing had begun. 




Charlie's place was dimly lit except for the stained glass hood lamp 
over the pool table. A blue cloud of smoke drifted just below the hood like a 
miniature afternoon cumulus from the nearby Okefenokee Swamp. 

Some eighteen or twenty people sat around the bar. * 'Marty, put your 
hat on right. You look stupid with it on the back of your head," noted Betty 
Jean, the bartender. Buck joined in by yelling to Marty about his hat and 
Marty snapped back, "Hell, you don't know what I've been doing!" A few 
raised eyebrows and grinned naughtily as if they did know. Marty just 
didn't want to admit it looked dumb, as Betty Jean had suggested. 

Most of the eyes shifted back to the pool table where Walt, the local 
eight ball champ, had just polished off J.B. for the third straight time. J.B. 
dies hard. He used to be the champ 'til Walt started coming in. Since then 
he'd been whipped regular - I mean like eleven of every twelve games. 
Sometime back in May when J.B. got whipped bad for the first time, he 
blamed it on a "cigar ash in his eye" - nearly everybody believed it. Until 
then he'd hardly ever lost. Then it was the damn new band that played Sun- 
day through Wednesday - Woody's Shed, they were called. J.B. called 
them "pecker woods" and they were bad ~ a fiddler that should 've quit 
years ago and a female vocalist who was all boobs and no voice. J.B. got so 
upset he broke three good pool cues! That was before he went out and 
bought him a personalized cue stick that has a screw-on handle and even a 
little leather case to carry "The Wizard" in. Marty is J.B.'s buddy and he 
said it cost J.B. $289.00 on special. It came from a plant out of Maryville, 
Tennessee. Well, no matter, in the long run J.B. had to accept runner-up 
cause Walt keeps on a taking him. Walt, a young, good-looking fella don't 
wanta lose his competition, so about the hardest thing he ever said was that 
J.B.'s cue was real nice and on a good night J.B. could win three or four 
games with that new stick. 


The fifth new Sunday to Wednesday band in four months was about to 
era n k up. This one just might make it. The crowd warmed up to 'em cause 
they knew all the old favorites like "Honky Tonk Woman," "If I Had the 
Wings of an Angel," and everything Hank Williams ever did. They did 
good hymns, too. Nearly everybody joined in when they did "Closer Walk" 
and "Amazing Grace." The women all sang. Some men, too. Those that 
didn't just nodded approval and some said "real nice" or "I love that 
song" in reverent tones. 

Hard Liquor was the new band and they seemed to be here for awhile. 
It didn't hurt that there were five of them and they played for $ 150.00 a 
night and free drinks. By 1:00 a.m. they were a bit sloppy but so was the 
crowd, and nobody seemed to notice. 

Old South, the regular Thursday to Saturday band had been at 
Charlie's for nearly five years now. Some thought they were the best — good 
enough to be on "Nashville Sound" or "Grand ole Opry." They were good 
but their endurance record had something to do with being thirty percent 
owners with Charlie. Only a few insiders knew about that. 

A stranger, dressed more like a casual businessman than a regular at 
Charlie's, came in. Most of his kind just look around like they were looking 
for a particular body and move on. They might figure a good ole boy would 
start a fight with them or maybe we look a little too country for them. Once 
in a while some guy's looking for his wife. A few come looking for a woman 
to pick up. Anyhow, this guy came in, ordered a Bud and sat quietly at the 
bar. He mighta had country roots cause he didn't just walk in and start talk- 
ing and he didn't leave. Besides, except for the ones drinking from cups, 
every beer can on the bar was a Bud. It seemed a little strange when the pool 
table had such a nice Miller's light over it. 

Over next to the wall sat a man a few knew as Pug. He'd been in 
before, maybe five or six times. Rachel, a pencil-thin blond with hair way 
down her back sat with him. He looked fifty- five or sixty at first, but it 
might have been because of his teeth. The bottom teeth seemed to be in bad 
shape and the upper's were almost surely "store bought." 

To the surprise of a few, these two danced to every upbeat song played. 
It was precision dancing like contesters out of the 1940's. Pug threw Rachel 
between his legs, over each hip and into the air. She even did a flip through 
his outstreched arms for a finale to the dance. Every move was precise, well- 
timed and obviously well rehearsed. 

The stranger ordered a second Bud and asked the waitress about the 
couple. She said, "They don't come in much, but she ain't his daughter 
--she's his woman" as if to convey a warning. When she served the Bud, she 
tapped the guy next to the stranger and said, "Ben, tell this man about 

"You don't want to mess with that man ~ he's strong as an ox." 

"I'm sure he is, I've watched him throw the young lady all over the 
floor." The stranger realized what else seemed peculiar about the couple. 
Neither of them had cracked even the slightest smile. Rachel dutifully took 
off her thick lensed glasses each time they went to the dance floor and left 
them beside her blue, milk-shake -sized cup. 

"They're good dancers /'offered the stranger. "They just don't look 
like they're having any fun." Ben seemed not to hear that remark, 
somewhat intent on his assignment from Betty Jean. 

"One night about two months ago a young man came in here a little 
drunk. He watched that young blond girl and clapped real big when thev 


came off the floor. That caught her eye but only for a second. Pug don't 

cotton to her noticing other men, or vicy versy for that matter." 

4 'Are they married?" asked the stranger. 

"Let's put it this way ~ she's his woman - married or not!" 

"I get your point." 

"So, anyway," said Ben, "this fella made the unfortunate mistake of 
asking the lady to dance, and he said 'May I dance with your daughter?' to 
Pug." Ben paused. "Hellfire, I haven't seen a man go so crazy in years! He 
grabbed that fellow up and lifted him off the ground, carried him to the 
wall and held him by the neck six inches off the floor against the wall. He 
kicked a bit then went limp before two other guys pulled Pug off. The guy 
came to and left without ever looking back." 

"We seen him break another man's jaw in one punch, too," recalled 
Betty Jean. "Some guy just went over and joined them at their table. We 
don't even know what he said. He left on a stretcher." 

"Damn, that man's kinda violent, isn't he?" suggested the newcomer. 

"You might say that" kidded Betty Jean, and they all had a good 
chuckle The stranger, however, felt a chill run down his spine. 

"What would a guy do if he just came in and wanted to dance, that's 

"Hell, that's easy," claimed Ben. "You'd ask ole Maggie over there. 
She'll dance with anybody." Not exactly a compliment, thought the 
stranger, but he did contemplate Maggie for awhile. 

Not long after, Hard Liquor took a break. Maggie left her friend, Pen- 
ny, talking with Larry. She strutted her 160 pounds up to the bar. Her dyed 
blond hair detracted from her once pretty face. Heavy make-up told of her 
last ditch effort at sexy youth. She could be thirty-five or fourty-five, but 
her masquerading appearance made one believe forty- five going on 
twenty-one. She laid a big kiss on Billy Joe, a young, good-looking fellow 
with a mustache. He tolerated the kiss, sat back against the bar and said, 
"That'll cost you a dollar." 

"A dollar?" exclaimed Maggie. "Then let me owe you five... "and she 
rather feverishly french kissed Billy Joe. He did seem to loose his cool and 
blush a little as the regulars laughed. 

Conversation rambled on. It was about guys doing time at Reidsville 
State Prison, Cale Yarbrough and Richard Petty, divorced couples kidnap- 
ping their own children, truckers doing dope, the "good ole days" when 
men were men and Americans were patriotic. Few spoke of education, just 
"schooling" and "making good money" (anything over $5.00 per hour). 

The stranger, observing this subculture, wondered with a certain 
sadness what chance did most of them have to live the good life; to avoid 
sickness, the courts, the prisons, bankruptcy, or an early death? There was 
something tragic, a certain fatality about it all, yet a camaraderie rarely seen 
in the middle class. (Maybe for them they are living the good life.) As a 
stranger he thought how unsafe the place seemed when he came in. Yet to 
those who knew the rules, it was a haven from the bigger world. A place 
where they were accepted and had a needed role to play. The outsider, who 
negotiated the bigger world with reasonable success, realized that for 
"Charlians" it was more like a hazardous maze. He remembered one of his 
more down to earth professors explaining "socialization" or some other 
such term, in college: "So much depends on how you were raised and what 
your Mom and Daddy taught you was the truth. Some of that never goes 
away -- even when you know better." 

:■!■! ■!■[ ■!■ !■[■! ■[■1PTaif5TgHaTS1fgTB1fgT81fgTB1ffTBirBTB1^r«1 ■TBIfBTgra 




Or am I hyperventilating? 

Is too much oxygen boiling in my brain? 

All the don'ts of all my life 
Came rushing, screaming at me 
They bounced off the back walls 
Of the inner chambers of myself 
And left their last consonants shattered. 
They *ve come back softly saying, 
"Do, Do, Do, Do. " 

Dana Wise Stern 

Standing At Graduation 

Standing at Graduation 

heart full 

of hopes, dreams 

goals set firmly 
before me 
ready to face 


determined to 

overcome. . . 

Time passed slowly 

dreams faded 
hopes diminished 
goals became 
tears fall 
my heart breaks 
pain turns to numbness- 
death of a dream. . . 

Janet Andrews 

The Ideal Mate 

Sharon Elmore 

There are as many different kinds of "ideal mates" as there are people 
to define them; however, many people spend most of their adult lives sear- 
ching for what they consider to be the "ideal mate." Unlike most, I have a 
clear vision of the person I hope to find to share my life with. An "ideal 
mate" to me is a person with a sense of humor and honesty, and one who is 
strong and dominant -- so long as I'm in charge. 

If a man does not have a sense of humor, I would not admire him at all. 
I want someone who can share my happiness and understand my feelings 
and ways. I don't want a man who is serious about everything. For in- 
stance, if I wreck hi c car, instead of anger, he should show me laughter. If I 
draw aii of his money out of the bank and spend it on food for a three-night 
party, he should understand. If I burn his clothes by putting them in the 
oven to dry, he should smile and say, "I know you are trying." If I make 
him sandwiches every night of the week instead of a full meal so that I could 
have time for my friends, he should say, "I'm proud of you for par- 
ticipating in our neighborhood meetings." 

Also, he should trust me as I trust him. After all, trust is one of the 
most important parts of a relationship. It's a foundation. For example, if I 
were to leave the house on a Monday morning and were to return home on 
Sunday, my husband should understand if I say, "I went home to see my 
mother because she is ill." Or if my husband came home one afternoon for 
lunch and found me and another man in our bedroom, me in my nightgown 
and the man in his underwear, my husband should understand if I say that 
the man is a doctor and that he is checking me for breast cancer. 

My "ideal mate" should be strong and dominant, because a man 
doesn't fit into my life if he is weak or if he is liable to fail under pressure. 
For example, if I told my husband that I wanted a divorce, I wouldn't want 
him weeping and saying, "No, baby, please don't leave me. I need you." 
Or if I fussed at the creep everyday and night for things such as taking his 
shoes off in the bedroom, or if I said, "Eat your dinner in the bedroom, 
because I don't feel like looking at you while I eat my supper!" he would 
obey without hesitation. If I told him to walk the seven miles to work, 
because I needed the car to take some of my friends to the Oglethorpe Mall, 
the "ideal man" would say, "Yes dear," to the whole thing; however , a 
weak man would say, "Are you crazy or just insane?" 

I suppose I could say that my overall image of the "ideal mate" is a 
person whom I can rule and control - a mate who will let me have my way. 
If my "ideal mate" exhibits this behavior, I could definitely say that I have 
found the one whom I am looking forward to spending eternity with. 

i oniaDiaaianiac5Tc,.iiiaa[oaiaaiaaiaDiaaiaaiaDiaDiaoioal 


Here's To You, Rachel! 

J ana Belmoff 

SETTING: The Mason living room. Upstage right is a door leading to the 
kitchen. Upstage left is the front door. Facing the door is an opening 
leading to the rest of the house. Downstage left is a small armchair which 
faces the audience, and next to it, a couch placed at an angle. Between the 
chair and couch is a small end table. In front of the couch is a coffee table. 
Upstage center against the wall is a small table with a telephone on it. 
Upstage right, below the kitchen door, is a small table with two chairs. The 
time is the present, early evening. JIM MASON is sitting at the table. He 
and RACHEL MASON, his wife, have just finished their evening meal. 

JIM (calling.) Rachel! Where the hell's the coffee? 

RACHEL (from inside the kitchen.) Coming, dear! (RACHEL MASON 
enters. She is a nice looking woman in her mid-twenties. At present she is 
wearing jeans and a very loose top which hides her figure. She wears very 
little make-up and has a kerchief tied around her hair. She enters with a cof- 
fee pot and crosses to JIM'S right side and pours the coffee.) There you are. 


JIM (grumpily.) Well, it's about damned time! A man could die of thirst 
waiting for you! 

RACHEL (steps behind him and acts as though she is going to pour coffee 
on his head. She stops, shakes her head, and sits down in her chair. After 
she sits, she pours coffee in her own cup. She fixes her coffee and is about to 
take a sip when JIM speaks.) 

JIM. What's for dessert? 

RACHEL. Chocolate cake. 

JIM. Chocolate cake! Damn Rachel! You know I'm on a diet. (Eyeing her 
critically.) You could stand to loose a few pounds yourself. But I guess since 
it's already made we may as well eat it. (Impatiently.) Well? Are you going 
to get it or not? 

RACHEL (rises and goes toward the kitchen door. At door she turns and 
looks at JIM who has picked up the newspaper from the table.) You're a 
real bastard. 

JIM (from behind newspaper.) What? 

RACHEL. Nothing. (She goes into the kitchen.) 

(The telephone rings. After a few rings, JIM finally looks up from his 
paper and calls.) 

JIM. Rachel! Are you going to get that? 

RACHEL (calling from kitchen.) All right! (She enters quickly and crosses 
to the telephone.) Hello?... (Glaring at JIM, who has resumed reading his 
paper.) Yes, Carl, he's right here... No, we weren't busy. Hang on. Jim? 
(He ignores her.) Jim, it's for you. (He still ignores her. She puts the phone 
down, walks to him and takes the newspaper away.) 

JIM. Hey! What's the big idea? 

RACHEL. You're wanted on the phone. 

JIM. Oh. Why didn't you say so? (He crosses to the phone. RACHEL 
throws her hands up at the ceiling as if to say "why me?" She then exits to 
the kitchen.) Hello? Hey Carl! How are you buddy?... Naw we weren't do- 
ing anything. Rachel was just too slow to get to the phone, as usual... Yeah, 
I know, Rachel's like that too. If you don't tell her what to do and when to 
do it, she won't move. She's so damned helpless... What?... A few beers 
later? Sure, when?... About eight-thirty? (Looking at watch.) That's a cou- 
ple of hours from now. Rachel ought to be in bed by then... Yeah, I know 
that's early, but she's gotta be at work at three... Yeah, this morning. So we 
can go out and she won't bitch at me that I left her home alone... Okay, 
Carl, see you then. 


RACHEL (entering from the kitchen with plates and forks.) Dessert's 
ready. (She places the plates and forks on the table.) 

JIM. Okay. (He walks to the table and sits. RACHEL exits into the kitchen. 
JIM resumes reading his paper again. RACHEL re-enters with a decorated 
cake with a few candles lit on it. Smilingly she places it on the table and 
looks expectantly at JIM.) 

RACHEL. Well? How do you like it? (There is no response from JIM. 
RACHEL sighs and blows out the candles.) Happy birthday Rachel. (She 
sits and cuts the cake. Lifting JIM'S newspaper, she slides his piece 
underneath. JIM finally puts down his paper.) 

JIM. Oh. Thanks. (He starts eating.) 

RACHEL. Don't mention it. (Pause.) What did Carl want? 

JIM. He just wanted me to go for a few beers later. 

RACHEL. When? 

JIM. Don't worry! He's coming by at eight-thirty. You'll be in bed by then. 

RACHEL. Why should I be in bed that early? 

JIM. Because you gotta be at work at three. Remember? 

RACHEL. No, Jim, I don't. Remember I told you they gave me the night 

JIM. No, you didn't. Why did they let you off? Damn it, Rachel, we need 
that money! 

RACHEL. They gave me the night off because it's my... (catching herself) 
night to be off. 

JIM (petulantly.) Well, I'm not going to call Carl and cancel now. 

RACHEL (wryly.) No, of course not. 

JIM (finishing his cake and rising.) Well, I'm going to relax till he gets here. 
If you don't mind. 

RACHEL. Why should / mind? 

JIM. Good. Then if you wouldn't mind leaving me in peace, I'll resume 
reading my paper. (He crosses to the sofa and lies down. He opens the 
newspaper and reads, hiding his face.) 

RACHEL (stares at him, then rises resignedly and begins clearing the table. 
On her last trip out of the kitchen, she carries is a bottle of champagne and a 
glass. She pops the cork, pours, and carries her glass to the small armchair. 


She sits, raises her glass in the air and glances at her husband.) Here's to you 
Rachel! May this be the last birthday you spend alone. (She drinks.) 
Mmmm, good! I think I'll have another. (She rises, walks to the table, and 
pours another glass of champagne. She crosses back to the chair.) Jim, 
dear? (No response.) How would you like to see a striptease? (She snatches 
off her kerchief and flings it across the room.) No good, huh? Oh well. (She 
sits in the chair and makes another toast.) To the man I married! May he rot 
in hell. (She starts to drink. When JIM speaks, she splutters and coughs.) 

JIM (from behind the paper.) What was that? 

RACHEL (thinking quickly.) I said, Jamie got the shell. 

JIM. Jamie? 

RACHEL. Yeah. Jamie at work. She got the conch shell lamp she wanted 
for her birthday. 

JIM. Oh. 

RACHEL (drinks down her champagne and rises for more.) It's funny how 
people can hear what they want to hear and turn off what they don't. (No 
response from JIM.) Jim? (Pause.) See what I mean? (She shrugs, crosses to 
the table and pours more champagne.) You know what I'm going to do, Jim 
dear! I'm going to drink this whole bottle of champagne. And when it's 
gone, I'm going to call my good friend and lover, Paul. Do you know what 
I'm going to call him? Darling! (She laughs at her own joke and drinks 
down a third glass of champagne. She is by this time becoming slightly tip- 
sy.) My darling husband. Is your paper interesting? (She taps her head.) 
There's more up here than you realize. You know that? (She sits in a chair 
at the table.) 

JIM (putting down the newspaper on the coffee table.) Nothing but bad 
news as usual. (He sits up and looks at his watch.) Well, another hour to kill 
till Carl gets here. (He holds out an arm to RACHEL.) Come here. We may 
as well kill it having fun, right? 

RACHEL (looking at him disgustedly.) I've got something better to do. 

JIM. Oh, yeah? What? 

RACHEL. I'm going to get drunk. (She rises from the table taking the glass 
and bottle with her and through the opening opposite the front door.) 

JIM. Damn! Can't even get a little in my own house. Dumb broad! Who 
needs you anyway. Just sore 'cause I'm going out. Well, Carl and me will 
find some more congenial company. Where's my book I was reading this 
morning? (Calling.) Hey Rachel! Where's my damn book? 

RACHEL (calling from offstage.) It's on the coffee table! 

JIM (looking on the coffee table.) No it's not! 


RACHEL (enters, weaving slightly, crosses to the coffee table, lifts the 
newspaper, pulls out his book and hands it to JIM with two fingers. She 
then exits again through the same opening.) 

JIM. Women! Think they know everything! (He lies back down on the 
couch and resumes reading. After a few seconds, RACHEL re-enters with 
the champagne bottle and a glass. She crosses to the kitchen door and exits. 
The phone rings. RACHEL re-enters and crosses to the phone, picking it 

RACHEL. Hello? Paul... (She looks at JIM and sees that he is reading.) 
Sure, I can talk... They what?!... My stocks tripled and you sold them?... A 
million dollars! I don't believe it!... Yes, it certainly is the best present I've 
gotten today! (She glances at JIM, who is still reading.)... You want to 
what? Paul! You've got to be kidding!... You actually want me to leave Jim 
and go with you to Jamaica tonight?... Yes, this is what we've been planning 
for with our investments, but... Hold on a minute. (She covers the 
mouthpiece with her hand and speaks to JIM.) Jim? Paul wants me to run 
off to Jamaica with him. (No response.) Jim, I'm a millionaire! 

JIM (putting down his book.) What did you say? 

RACHEL. Nothing. Go back to your book. (He does so. RACHEL speaks 
into the phone.) Paul?... Yes, darling! Let's go! I'll pack a few things and be 
ready in fifteen minutes!... I love you too! 'Bye. (She hangs up and exits into 
the left opening.) 

JIM (laying down his book on the table and stretching.) I think I'll get a 
head start on Carl and have a beer now. (He exits into the kitchen. The 
phone rings. After several rings JIM enters with a can of beer, muttering. 
He crosses to the phone and answers it.) Hello?... Oh, hey Carl!... You want 
to do what?... Go bowling? Sure, why not. See you in ten. (He hangs up, 
crosses to the couch, opens his beer, and sits back on the couch with book 
and beer.) 

RACHEL (enters from up left entrance. She has changed into a nice pair of 
slacks and a clingy sweater. Her hair and make-up have been fixed and she 
looks considerably more attractive. She carries a suitcase and a purse which 
she lays down by the front door.) Well, rich lady! You got your birthday 
wish. Jim, dear, I hope you and your books will be very happy. (The 
doorbell rings. She answers it. A handsome man is standing in the doorway. 
He is smiling and is obviously very much in love with RACHEL.) 

PAUL. Hi, beautiful! Happy birthday! (He gathers her in his arms and 
kisses her just inside the doorway.) Ready? 

RACHEL (smiling.) Are you kidding? Let's go! (PAUL picks up her suit- 
case and they leave. RACHEL closes the door behind her. A few moments 
pass and the doorbell rings again. JIM, who is absorbed in his book, ignores 
it. The doorbell rings a few more times, insistently. JIM finnaly looks up.) 


JIM. Rachel? You gonna get that? (No response.) Damn! (He crosses to the 
door and opens it. A man of about JIM'S age steps in.) 

CARL. Damn, Jim! Don't you ever answer your door? 

JIM. I thought Rachel was going to get it, but she must have gone to bed 
early after all. Come on, let's go. (They exit as the curtain falls.) 


]| Da|ODloci|aol 

If I Were Deprived 

If I were deprived 

of youth 

prematurely, grown 


forming no roots 


an empty garden 

no beautiful flowers 

only weeds, 

If there were no 

joy, no peace 


now you have 

my pain erased, 

my fears calmed 

when you 

an ocean breeze 

blew freshness 


into my mannequin-like 


Janet Andrews 


A Stop In The Desert 

James Land Jones 


When I got to Indigo I flipped the coin again. Three series of the best 
two out of three. That made nine times altogether and I think the reason I 
did it so many times is that when I first started flipping the coin 1 thought 
there was more chance of its coming out what I wanted. When I left 
Pomona College that morning I said to myself, / mil flip the coin again at 
Indigo, for Indigo is this side of the desert and I can still go back. That was 
the whole point: I could still go back. Pomona was always heads and the 
State University at home was always tails, since P comes before S. I would 
shake the coin in my hand, feeling it turn over and over (I always made sure 
it turned over) and then I would carefully balance it on my thumb for a flip. 
It had to take a good spin and I had to catch it squarely, or I wouldn't count 
it and would flip again. But I had to keep track of it in my head, and by the 
time I finished the last set it seemed like every time I would forget what the 
score was. I never meant to forget but somehow I always did. 

It was awfully hot sitting in that car loaded with clothes and books and 
junk, by the side of the road, at the edge of the desert. I suddenly 
remembered that it was noon and I hadn't eaten anything all day. So I cruis- 
ed down that neat four-lane highway looking for a shaded drive-in or a nice 
modest cafe. There was a big green job I almost stopped at, but it looked 
pretty swanky what with that little sidewalk awning and no windows and 
all. I drove on but Indigo ran out and the big signs pointed the sharp left 
turn over the railroad tracks, up that long slope to the desert and the east. 

Well, I turned around and drove down the other side, back into town, 
but there wasn't much luck on that side either, so I turned around again. A 
block before the big green job I saw a small root beer stand of faded 
washed-out blue. It wasn't much but there were some big wooden tables and 
benches along side beneath a canvas awning. 

I parked the car and walked up to the front where a dumpy Indian girl 
slid the little glass window back and took my order. I wasn't hungry but I 
ordered the chili dog and the seventy-five cent root beer for I sure was thirs- 
ty. My eyes followed the Indian girl as she started to work, but I wasn't real- 
ly watching her, and besides the sun kept hitting the glass so that she wasn't 
much of anything but a brittle glare superimposed on the reflected filling 
station across the highway. I thought about that for awhile, how she was 
nothing but a superimposition on the filling station, but it didn't seem to 
make much sense. So I just stood there squinting into the glass, thinking 
about nothing. 

It was hot but as long as I just stood there I didn't notice the heat. In- 
digo is twenty-two feet below sea level; and that seemed funny too, because 
Indigo is in the valley, with some green, and the eastern desert is up, way up 
on the top of that long hill that is eroded in violent gullies hidden in the 
shimmering haze. I remembered that hill from coming west, three days ago. 
It was night when I reached the drop-off and way far away below I could see 


all the lights of Indigo stretching down the valley as I popped up and down 
over that damned eroded slope. I was pushing it near eighty and it was like 
riding a roller coaster, up and down so hard I could feel it in my stomach. 
In daylight you can't see all those little dips, just that long slope like some 
low mountain hunching up to the desert on top of it. 

Anyway, the girl thrust a sack and a paper cup at me, and tucking the 
big white envelope with all the stuff about Pomona College in it under my 
arm, I walked over to those tables and benches. I wanted to get around the 
side of the building where the girl couldn't see me, but some man and 
woman were sitting there, so I had to sit right up by that plate glass front 
with the little window in it. I reached into the sack and pulled out a long 
steaming bundle wrapped in moist, sticky tissue paper. That was the biggest 
chili dog I had ever seen, but it wasn't very good. The meat was rotten and 
the chili was dry and crumbly, without much taste. I ate about half of it just 
to put something on my stomach then wadded the rest of it up into a ball in 
that moist tissue paper and thrust it back into the sack, and wadded that up, 
too. But the root beer was real good and there was lots of ice. I sipped 
awhile on the big straw then wadded it up too and threw it across the table 
out from beneath the canvas awning into the glare and sun. Then I pulled 
out the stuff about Pomona from that big white envelope. 

The catalogue was pretty and I liked that. It was a pale blue, cool and 
friendly, crossed with the white letters of "Pomona College Bulletin." At 
first I just flipped through the pictures, noticing that they were not the same 
as in that catalogue I looked at in the library back home. (I had enrolled 
late, the last week in August, and I guess they hadn't seen it when I asked 
them to send me a catalogue at the bottom of my letter.) These pictures were 
better than the others in the old catalogue; I mean they showed more of the 
college, and after all that's what one wants to see in pictures. There was one 
in particular that I really liked, a shot across the long paved courtyard bet- 
ween the men's dorms to Mt. Baldy and the San Gabriel range. That shows 
a lot, I think, what living conditions at Pomona are like, for those dorms 
are bright new buildings and the view to the mountains is supurb. 

The flys began buzzing and working around that paper sack with the 
chili dog in it, so I got up and put it in one of those metal trash cans with the 
swinging doors. 


I had gotten to Pomona College late Thursday night, but I was not 
really tired. The road west just goes and goes across the desert and then 
after you make the long drop at Indigo and the sharp turn across the tracks, 
it's just more of the same till it spreads out into four lanes. That bothered 
me at first, a double row of headlights coming at me at top speed over those 
gentle hills and curves, and a double row of headlights on my side in the 
rear-view mirror. But eventually your eyes get kind of blurry and you get us- 
ed to it. 

The night was just as clear as a bottle of midnight blue ink held up to 
the light and scattered with stars like chipped ice. There was that deep night 
sky and then, where the mountain met it, just a jagged edge of blackness. 
My headlights had just picked up the small sign reading "Palm Springs," 
with an arrow pointing over to a hollow cavern of blackness where the 


mountain was, when the sand storm started. At first I thought it must be 
raining or hailing or something, but the air vents began to pick it up, flaying 
it against my legs. Then I knew it was sand all right. I shut the vents and 
watched great clouds of that sand swirl up across the highway and sway the 
car ever so much. Then I would drive out of it so quickly that I was suprised 
to see the clear air before me. 

That went on until I reached Banning, where I stopped for gas. All 
afternoon I had thought about the oil, coming west across the desert and 
seeing now and then the rusted skeleton of some old car at the edge of the 
highway, up in the sand. There was no telling how long some of them had 
been there, and I wondered about the people that had been in them. I 
wondered what they did when they left them, where they went in the desert 
like that, and who had come out like buzzards and stripped them of tires 
and motors and everything but that steel frame. I counted twelve of those 
sludged hulks. They were like the pile of bones one would see at the water 
hole if he were coming out in pioneer days, only this was the twentieth cen- 
tury and they were not bones but cars, and I knew where I was going. 

From Banning I just sat back and watched the big signs of that neat 
four-lane highway mark the towns, watching for Pomona. I thought I 
would have to go through Pomona to get to Claremont, where the College 
is. But just outside of Pomona a couple of miles there was a little sign that 
said Claremont, so I didn't have to go all the way to Pomona. I slid off the 
freeway real easy like and onto a wide street with tall street lights; they made 
it look like a baseball park when only half the floodlights are on. That street 
took me through some grubby pre-fab houses with sand-lot backyards and 
scraggly palms, up to some railroad tracks and a stop sign. There was 
nothing along my side of the tracks. But a row of dark buildings with oca- 
sional neon tubing ran along the other side, indicating stores, and I knew it- 
most be Claremont. I stopped and in that thin light caught sight of a sign 
that pointed the way to Pomona College. 

Well, I don't know what I was thinking of, but across from the campus 
I stopped at the Claremont Inn and asked about a room. There were a cou- 
ple of girls standing at the desk in bermuda shorts, beside some luggage, 
and when I asked that young guy for a room he just kind of laughed. I 
should have known better, what with orientation week starting the next day; 
that place had probably been booked up with college kids for weeks. But I 
just hadn't thought because I didn't want to think at all, just watch the 
country and drive. 

There wasn't anywhere else to stay in Claremont, a little town like that. 
This didn't scare me exactly (I could always sleep in the car) but it made me 
feel uneasy, like you feel when you have been out walking late at night and 
suddenly realize how far you've come from home. When you were out 
walking you didn't realize it, but when you stop or the road forks you 
wonder how you came that far without realizing it. 

So I got back into the car and drove out to the freeway again. Only I 
didn't go back on it but drove straight ahead, right into Ontario. Yeah, On- 
tario, California. And that made me feel the same way as you do on that 
walk at night. Ontario seemed to go every-which-way and I just chose a big 
street and guessed. There were some motels on it all right, only they were all 
filled up, and there was nothing to do but keep driving on that street, look- 
ing at the little "Vacancy" signs that all had the "No" lit up in front of 
them. I couldn't figure it out, all those places filled up, and I kept thinking 
they have to be college students and their families. 


Soon there wasn't much left of Ontario but dark hulking industrial 
buildings along that street and an occasional neon sign. I had just about 
passed it when I caught sight of a dull red glow that spelled "Vacancy," 
back off the street beneath some trees. Back of the main house, so dark in 
those trees that you could hardly see them, were the cottages. They looked 
like they were hunched back in some foul alley. There wasn't a light in the 
whole place save for that dull red glow from the sign and a wretched yellow 
blur from the main house, behind dirty faded shades. 

I walked up to the stoop and stood before the open door. The room 
was dark save for the florescent sterile flicker of the television set. 
Something moved up from a prone position on an overstuffed sofa with 
faded slip covers and came toward the door. It was a short fleshy woman 
with flat yellowish-grey hair done up on her head. In that oversized 
bathrobe trailing around her feet, she looked like some article that had just 
been taken from the wash and wrapped up in a towel. 

She stood there and looked at me for a moment, like she wondered 
what I wanted, and I was conscious of somebody fiddling around in a car 
trunk in the darkness behind me. Then she said: "You want a room?" 

Yeah, I wanted a room. I wondered what the fiddling was in the 
darkness behind me. 

I stepped inside and watched that sterile thin white flickering on the 
walls while she rummaged around for a register. She found it, under a pile 
of papers and magazines, by the sofa. She carried it to a table near the 
television set and I wondered how all this barren fadedness and sand- 
scoured ugliness could be so close to Los Angeles, and I thought it all 
belonged back on the desert with the sludged hulks but it was here and it 
didn't make much sense. Was this that little hole that slipped to hell just at 
the gates of paradise, near the angels, and I was sure that I had remembered 
that from John Bunyon or was it from Hawthorn's "Celestial Railroad" 
which was also from John Bunyon. And I wondered what John Bunyon has 
to do with California and railroads with my car. 

She stood aside, shifting the big robe up about her shoulders, and I 
moved up to sign in. There wasn't any light at all, only that television, but I 
did the best I could, filling a line in that register which wasn't anything but a 
big cheap ledger book she had picked up at the five-and-ten. 

So then she tells me that she won't accept traveller's checks. "No, I 
can't do it. I don't ever go anywhere, so there is nowhere for me to cash it," 
she said, as if amazed at my assuming she would ever be going anywhere on 
earth at all. And I looked at her real funny, trying to imagine her sitting all 
her life in that dark room with the flickering whiteness, wrapped in that big 
robe like a wet wash, just sitting there all her life. And I wanted to pick her 
up and shake her, to shout at her or something, anything to feel like she was 
alive and I was alive. But I didn't know, didn't know anymore, and nothing 
came out and it was all like a dream where things take place in a vacuum 
and there aren't any words because you can't speak and it's all just pictures. 
And I wondered if it was a dream, for my body felt suddenly like it was in 
the car moving, but my mind was in a dream where this woman and I were 
in an air-tight glass enclosure performing on strings like mannequins, and I 
wasn't sure anymore at all. 

I turned around and walked out. She shuffled to the door and I think 
she was saying something about my cashing the traveller's check at the 
supermarket across the way, and I knew she wanted that four dollars. But I 


wasn't listening. I just wasn't listening anymore. I just stood there in that 
dark alley by my car, not thinking of anything. There was a man fiddling in 
the trunk of the car next to mine and I wondered what he was doing there, 
for I had forgotten that there was anyone in the world but that bundle of 
wet wash and myself. When I was sure he was really there, I saw that he 
wasn't actually fiddling but watching me out of the corner of his eye. That 
was very odd, that he would be watching me. Then it didn't make any dif- 
ference any more and I drove off. Back in the car again, moving. 

Down the road a way there was another tourist court, an old one, but 
nicely lighted, with a row of trees running down between the courts. I stop- 
ped and walked into the little office, not much bigger than a closet and with 
linoleum on the floor. A big ceiling light lit up every corner. Presently a 
woman came out from the back of the house and I signed in, on one of 
those little cards like you use in a first-rate motel. Her husband came out 
and we talked awhile, all that talk that doesn't mean anything and is not 
much better than the dream, except you can hear the sound of your own 
voice. I must have said something about college, for she said she'd heard of 
Pomona. I chewed on that awhile; Pomona couldn't have been over ten 
miles away. 

"Why don't you go to Chico?" she asked banteringly, indicating some 
local loyalty. I tried to sound interested and polite and asked gently 
where that was. Well, it was around there close. And then she asked why I 
can come clear out to California to go to college, and I don't remember 
what I told her because it was the same standard answer I had been giving to 
that question for the past two weeks, and after you've been giving an 
answer for two weeks you don't pay attention to what you're saying any- 

I guess I gave that answer once too often, because when I got over to 
my court and plopped down on that bed, her question hit me~I mean I was 
suddenly aware that she had asked me that question-and I couldn't think of 
what I had told her and I didn't know what the answer was. I just lay there 
on that bed with the pink spread with the ridges on it and looked at the slits 
of light thrown on the wall by the half-open Venetian blind on the back win- 
dow. Those neat slits of light chopping up the darkness on the plastered 
wall--thev were the pat answer I had been giving to The Question. Each strip 
a well ordered reason for transferring to Pomona College, plastered against 
the darkness we never really know about. Mallory said he climbed moun- 
tains because they were there. Well, 1 was here. And if you wanted to know 
more, you could inspect those neat little slit-reasons which I had plastered 
against the darkness of my own soul. The reasons were: 1 liked the climate, 
Pomona College was fifteenth on a list of best colleges in the country, and I 
was ambitious. All plastered against the darkness. That was the answer I 
had been giving. 

I got up and eased into the shower where, after a reasonable length of 
time, the water was warm and relaxing. Then I lit a cigarette and slipped 
plum naked between the cool sheets. I watched the smoke curl up and 
dissipate itself into the semi-darkness, while all the while those slits of light 
were on the wall. Then somebody turned out the light out back, for the slits 
were gone and there was nothing but sudden darkness. 

I didn't move for a long time. I just lay there and kept flipping my 
cigarette against the edge of a glass ash tray propped on my stomach, wat- 
ching its arcs of light. When my eyes got used to the dark, I saw that there 


wasn't much to be seen, that I couldn't see anything in the room very clear- 
ly, and then I knew that it was up to me to keep the old answer from being 

cu/allnii/oH in Hartnpcc tr\n 

swallowed in darkness, too. 


The next morning I wasn't sure whether that answer was really there or 
whether it was just an "after image," as the psychologists call it. But I made 
like it was there and screwed my courage to the sticking place (which in this 
case happened to be the driver's seat of my car) and went over to Pomona. 

The pictures hadn't lied. It was beautiful. I kept saying that as I drove 
around the campus, and I asked myself why and what is beauty. I always 
ask myself questions like that, ever since the professor back at Leighton 
asked me "What is poetry?" the first day of sophmore English, and I found 
out later he was using what they call the Socratic Method. Well, I used it for 
a long time, that Socratic Method, and I really thought I had something. 
Until I took a course in Semantics and ran across Bertrand Russell's saying 
that at the end of the Socratic Method you have made only a linguistic 
discovery, not a discovery in ethics. After that it wasn't much good any 
more. And neither was Leighton for that matter. 

But that morning I drove around the campus of Pomona College and 
decided it was beautiful, and that Beauty was my own projection of it. I 
picked that up in Psychology, that idea about projection, and it made a neat 
solution to the linguistic problem, even if my philosophy prof did call it 

I stopped at the Claremont Inn again, going in for breakfast. I sat by 
the windows in the dining room where I could look out at the campus across 
the street, hidden by the big trees. Everything was real nice; they had 
tablecloths on the tables and the girl came by with a little tray in which you 
put the money to pay the bill. It made you feel like the place had order, all 
that decor holding one up from eating on the floor. 

After breakfast I bought some cigarettes and walked through the splen- 
did trees of the campus, hunting for the main office building, where I guess- 
ed I should register. In a large recess in the main hall, about half a dozen 
students were waiting before a poster board propped up on a wooden stand. 
A low white office fence separated the recess from the main hall, and a 
secretary was sitting by the gate. She told me that the Dean had been expec- 
ting me, which made me feel real good. I went into his office off the hall 
and talked with him, and then he took me out before the poster board. Sure 
enough, there was that picture of myself that I had sent them, tacked above 
my name, with a lot of other pictures and names. One of the boys put a little 
check before my name and introduced himself as my monitor. He was 
about my height, in slacks and a polo shirt. Together we went back to my 
car and started down his list of available rooms. 

The first place was down on the corner by the railroad tracks. Jim-that 
was the boy's name-said the guy here was pretty odd, and after we had 
rung the bell several times I was ready to go on to the next place. But finally 
the man came to the door, a tall thin guy wearing nothing but some flimsy 
leopardskin shorts, a pair of sandals, and this moustache. He looked at me 
real funny and we went in, through his house, to a back room that was for 


rent. There wasn't much there at all. The man said he hadn't fixed it up 
because he didn't know for sure whether he was going to rent it or not. But 
the bad thing was having to traipse through the rest of the house to get to 
the room. It seemed too close to the rest of the house, and if a room is really 
yours it isn't close to the house. 

So we went on to the rest of the places on the list. Some of them were 
just as bad; some had already been rented; at some the people weren't home 
so we couldn't see their rooms. The last place on the list was on a dead-end 
street about half a block from campus. It was a two-story frame place, grey 
and weather beaten, and it seemed like the only thing holding it up were the 
trees that closed in against it. Inside the whole house had a damp, slightly 
musty odor about it. The landlady was a tall old woman with a broken leg 
all done up in a white plaster cast. She told us to go upstairs, where she had 
several rooms. The smell was worst on the stairs. 

The front room was nice. Three big windows looked out to the street, 
there was a wash basin, a rug on the floor, and a bookcase. Down the dim 
hall the windows of the back room looked out from under the eves like giant 
bug eyes, across the narrow grubby back yard fenced in like a little cell 
among the cells of other narrow grubby back yards. The torn brown shades 
looked like lacerated eyelids incapable of closing off the scene beyond them. 
There was no rug, there was no bookcase, and the desk was just a rickety 
wooden table. The roof under the eves sloped down in all sorts of crazy 
angles as if it were closing in on you. In a sort of alcove there was an old 
iron bed with a thin flabby cotton mattress. Next to the room was the bath. 
It was dirty and pretty run-down. An antiquated hot water tank grumbled 
in the corner and the grimy wood floor was covered with a brittle piece of 
green linoleum with big gaping holes. Before the bathroom door was a wash 
bowl and a mirror. The rim of the bowl was covered with slimy puddles of 
soap slop, the inside flecked with black hairs. The mirror was all filmed 

The front room wasn't bad, though, and I was about to tell the woman 
I would take it when she said that it was already rented, that one of the new 
students had already been by. She wanted to know if I wanted the other 
room and I looked at Jim and he said that we would keep it in mind. We 
tried the other places, where the people hadn't been home before, but no 
luck. So I went back and took the end room. 

I could have started unpacking the car then, but I didn't. For some 
reason I didn't. I just went back to the office with Jim. When he got tied up 
with someone else I walked over the campus. The freshman girls were arriv- 
ing in masses down at the girls' dorm and the boys were all down there 
whooping and hollering and helping them with their luggage. I walked back 
up to the other end of the campus to the Student Union. In the courtyard 
some of the upperclassmen were working industriously on big posters, but I 
didn't notice what they were for. I walked inside and ordered a hamburger 
and a coke and stepped out onto the front patio and sat down. I sat there 
and watched Mt. Baldy rising serene in the clear distance. 

At four it was time for the meeting of all the transfer students. We met 
in the lounge of some ballroom. The upperclassmen talked to us and gave us 
the big envelopes with all the information about the college in them, then we 
split up into little groups. The boy in charge of my group was an athlete of 
sorts and so everyone started talking about athletics and the boy took infor- 
mation on what sports we could play and I kept saying to myself "Isn't 


there someplace in this damned country where they think of something 
besides athletics?" Then the meeting was over and there was nothing to do 
but go back to my room and get ready for the banquet that night. 

When I got back to the house, I found that the other boy had moved in- 
to the front room. He was a tall gangly chap with a face like a spaniel encas- 
ed in black horn-rimmed glasses. He was one of those people who would 
never set the world on fire, but was good and kind and kept it going year 
after year. He was in engineering. 

We talked for quite awhile, while he puttered around the room, 
straightening out odds and ends. He didn't have any books at all, and so I 
tried to talk him out of the book case. But he wouldn't give it up and that 
angered me, when he knew he didn't need it. He had transfeiredfrom some 
small college on the way out to Indio. His high school teachers had told him 
of Pomona's being a good college and I thought that damned quaint and he 
said he thought the students here were very friendly, with which I agreed. 
He asked about me and why I had come all the way to California to school 
and I tried to tell him but nothing came out very well because it was all 
tangled up with the whole of whatever I was and I just wasn't sure anymore, 
and I clenched my teeth and said to myself I know you think I'm crazy but 
you don't understand, you can't understand because your high school 
teachers told you and you will go back to wherever you came from and live 
happily ever after, and if I really try to explain you will only say "I don't 
know what you're talking about" and that will sound like my high school 
teachers and I will cry "You purblind fool, don't you even care why you 
keep the world going round and round, what it is that you should care or I 
should care or that she should simply be at all?" 

So I really didn't say much. I just told him what he wanted to hear, 
then he said, "Well, I've got to get ready," and I said "Yes" and went 
down to the car and brought up a suitcase to that room under the eves. 


Together we walked over to the dining hall between the bright new 
dorms, across the vast courtyard with the view of Mt. Baldy. The late after- 
noon haze made everything seem far away and soft, like when driving. All 
the freshmen were standing before the closed doors of the dining hall with 
their little beanies on and we transfer students chuckled to ourselves. I stood 
off with one whose parents had sent him to Pomona from a junior college in 
Los Angeles. He dressed in a tight-fitting sport coat, cut to accentuate his 
trim waist and broad shoulders, and he was tanned like a bronzed god and 
talked in slurred, sensual tones, standing relaxed as if he mastered all the 
world. I asked him about L.A. and he told me about beach parties and nude 
moonlight swims, about Ciro's and the Mocambo, and Sunset Boulevard at 
night in the open convertible, looking far out across the valley of lights to 
the sea, and motorcycle picnics into the foothills. "Damn, we know how to 
live!" he said, and I think for a moment I envied him. 

Dinner was pleasant. We all sat according to our major and I was the 
only male English major except for some silly little fop who kept fretting 
because he couldn't have lemon in his tea. I was sitting across from the 
chairman of the department and even he thought it was rather funny. The 


professor started a conversation with the girl next to him and by the time I 
could get in on it they were talking about Oxford, from which the girl had 
just returned. Her father had lectured there a semester, and she had attend- 
ed a few lectures. I played dumb and asked all about Oxford; it seems the 
professor had been there recently, too, and I guess I was trying to impress 
him, for I remember I said that my best friend had just won a Rhodes 
Scholarship from the school he had transferred to in California. 

After dinner the president of the college made a brilliant talk about 
what a college education should be and what Pomona was trying to do for 
us, and so for awhile I thought I had really found it. But when he was 
through, the professor told us about the program of the requirements and I 
found that about half of my work wouldn't transfer and I thought "It's the 
same old rat race over again." 

Then we went into the Courtyard for a pep rally. The Oxford girl and I 
got together. She was a sophisticated thing, having been back east to school 
and Oxford and all, and the very independent type. She thought that pep 
rallies were pretty sophomoric and so I played right along and we kept pop- 
ping bright Oscar Wildish barbs back and forth. But as soon as I stood 
under the star-scattered sky fresh as clean sheets, on the steps of the vast 
courtyard with Mt. Baldy at my back and the chill night air in my face, and 
we sang the Alma Mater, and I kept asking myself why I wanted to cry, and 
I wanted to tell the silly young freshman with the crazy beanies and bright 
upturned faces that they didn't know how lucky they were. 

I walked the girl back to the dorms at the other end of the campus and 
I felt dirty inside playing her game and I wanted to slap her. And then I 
wondered who she was that the world was this to her, and who I was that 
the world was this to me. She drove me back to my rooming house, but I 
didn't go in at first. I just stood there on the fraction of front lawn between 
the trees and looked out into the night and watched the bright patches of 
light from upstairs windows filter through the trees and fall like autumn 
leaves upon the lawn. 

Then I tossed my cigarette into the blackness beyond the curbing and 
watched it explode momentarily into pinpoints of scattered fire as it struck 
the concrete. Then I thought of my car and the local law that you can't 
leave your car out in the street overnight and I said "Oh what the Hell, dear 
God oh what the Hell," and stumbled up the black narrow stairs. 

The othe^boy was still up. His door was open so I walked in and sat 
down on the table and said nothing. He said nothing either, and walked 
back and forth rearranging his stuff again. Finally he said, "Well, what do 
you think?" and I tried to tell him what I thought and though I did no bet- 
ter with the words he seemed to understand a little this time and sat down on 
the bed, pulling out a cigarette and fingering it awkwardly. 

"I don't smoke much," he explained, and then I liked him very much 
and said "I think I'm leaving." 

He asked me why and he really wanted to know and I guess to help if he 
could, and I told him something about the credits that wouldn't transfer 
and about the room and I don't really remember what else. I told him that if 
I left I would have to leave right away so that I could get home and get into 
the State University before it started. And I guess he liked me, too, for he 
kept saying, "Give it a chance. Don't leave yet. Wait several days and give it 
a chance." 


But then it was gone and he got ready for bed and I groped my way 
down the bleak hall to that room where the ceilings closed in at crazy angles. 
I took off my shoes, wrapped the counterpane about me, and lay down on 
the sagging mattress. 

When I woke up the next morning I lay for a long time with the 
counterpane over my head and listened to the little noises beyond the door. 
Someone came out of the room next to mine and entered the bath, shuffling 
about and flushing the toilet several times. As long as the counterpane was 
over my head, I did not have to believe that I was in the room at all. As long 
as I could just lay there I knew everything would be all right. And so I must 
have lain there for over an hour. But I had to get up to use the toilet and 
there wasn't any use pretending any more. I came back and sat on the edge 
of the bed. Then I got up and put my coat and tie back into the suitcase, 
folding the coat very carefully. Everything was all packed up so I went back 
and sat on the edge of the bed and waited. I waited for a long time. Finally I 
put my shoes on. I put two dollars on the dresser for the woman. I would 
drive out to Indio. I would flip the coin again at Indio, for Indio was this 
side of the desert and I could still come back. I would decide at Indio. 

But at Indio I forgot the score and there was nothing to do but drive 
on. Across the desert, into the mountains, maybe. It really didn't make any 
difference. No difference at all, not when I was driving. 





Spring Break 

Once more, dear Venus, I your aid invoke: 

Uplift in spouting couplets my pen 's stroke. 

Long springs ago brave Klunkwit led his swarm 

Of panting heroes to the woman's dorm. 

A generation later great Timorus 

With blotting bullhorns led his cursing chorus 

To loot and smash in peaceful protestations 

Against the war, and housing regulations. 

Now spring erects a new enthusiasm, 

And students flock to view new faddist spasm. 

From Georgia to Alaskan tundras bleak 

The student herds unite to strip and streak. 

Clad only in the emperor's regalia, 

In hordes along the campus paths they flash, 

Pause and cavort where lighted fountains splash, 

Then flee the new arriving legal arm 

To waiting cars that whisk them out of harm. 

In City Hall the figleaf furies pop; 

"Pursuit of filmed and printed smut must stop; 

Mere artifacts will await our ogling proof, 

But here's pornography upon the hoof. 

If dirt in book and picture makes us squirm, 

How much more potent is the living worm? 

Be quick before police arrest the slime, 

We'll pass a law to make a streak a crime. 

These floating naked shows will get obscener 

If we can punish only misdemeanor. 

Mug shots and witnessed lineups we'll arrange 

Before we let them cover up and change, 

For culprits masked no witnesses can tell 

Unless identified au naturale. 

All other crime prevention is suspended 

Until this moral turpitude is ended. " 

Thus vernal campus rites usurp front pages, 

And prurient prudes rejoice in moral rages; 

Professors teach attenuated classes 

While sirens shriek pursuing naked passes 

Of streaking bucks and undulating lasses. 

Hugh Pendexter III 



The large woman 

in the blue bathing suit 

with white polka dots 

and flowers 

and a skirt 

is watching me ~ 

she doesn *t realize 

I am watching her 

through the polarized 



of my sunglasses. 

I guess she doesn 't like 

green bikinis 

or girls who can wear them. 

She should -- 

Green is her color. 

Dana Wise Stern 


Of Time And Lizards - And Sex 

Jane Ann Patchak 

From the vantage of my patio I watch the many-ringed circus of subur- 
ban wildlife, the aerialists and high wire performers, the balancing acts, and 
the clowns. There was even a magic act one day when a Luna moth 
metamorphosed and hung itself to dry on the rubber plant, its luminous 
four-inch-swallow-tailed wings atremble in the slight breeze. My ringside 
seat affords me much pleasure and a bit of insight as birds and squirrels, 
butterflies and cats, and lizards, stalk and quarrel, court, and rear their off- 

It is the chameleons, though, that command much of my attention. 
Actually, they aren't chameleons at all, but anoles. Chameleons are Old 
World creatures and much larger than the small green lizards that dwell in 
the yard and patio. Presently there are six which reside on the patio. They 
are graduated in size and one has lost part of a tail. I call her Sugar. The 
very large one is El Groso and the tiny one I call La Petite. Today I 
discovered that this is a misnomer, for La Petite is a very young male and in 
a gesture of insouciant bravado, he did a couple of quick push-ups and wav- 
ed a miniscule pink flag at El Groso before scurrying into a crevice in the 
bricks too small for fatty to follow. In time these two will likely have a con- 
frontation that will force one to retire from the patio, leaving the other as 
top dog, to use an inappropriate metaphor, with a harem of nubile females. 

The other chameleoms lack sufficient distinguishing characteristics as 
yet for naming. They mostly hang out on the periphery, so to speak, in 
areas where I have constructed chameleon- environment . There's a small 
rock collection which serves as a miniature mountain range where they can 
bask in filtered sunlight. At one end of the patio I hung a couple of bran- 
ches with interesting shapes. These provide an escape when life on the 
screens palls. This morning one was apparently in deep meditation on a 
branch where he had assumed a Yogo asana, the Pose of the Snake. Then 
there are the hanging plants where they can lurk and await an unwary bug 
or a pubescent female. 

I have logged several hundred hours chameleon- watching, and have 
observed hunting, stalking, defense, courtship, and copulatory behaviors. 
Once I saw a fierce battle between contending males, I was ultimately con- 
strained to break it up for I felt the combatants were unevenly matched in 
size. It's easy to disturb a chameleon. The merest touch of a finger to the 
tip of a tail is all it takes. In this battle the big one clamped his jaws about 
the snout of the smaller one and hung on so tenaciously that the little chap's 
hind legs were bouncing on the screen. But despite my intervention, which 
gave him a chance to escape, that feisty little bugger leaped back into the 
fray and was shortly driven from the field. 

The victor in this struggle, named Champ, was one tough hombre who 
stayed green all the time, it seemed. He was unmatched for sheer ef- 
frontery, and claimed the entire back of the house, as well as the patio, as 


his territory. He patrolled relentlessly, once chasing an interloper all the 
way to the west end of the house where he vanished around the corner, still 
in hot pursuit. Champ would display at any provocation and even when 
there was no evident reason. He was a great show-off, with his "Hey! 
Look at me!" macho demonstrations that wowed most of the females and 
scared most of the males. For the uninformed, a display involves a series of 
push-ups and head-bobs, accompanied by the extension of a throat fan 
which only the males possess. Champ's was bright orange, a nice contrast 
to his brilliant green hide. They display during skirmishes for territory or as 
part of a courtship ritual. My book says this display makes them vulnerable 
to predators and uses up much energy. Champ had energy to spare, 
especially sexual energy. In fact, he was downright horny most of the time. 

One warm sunny afternoon when in the pursuit of I'amour, Champ 
was making spectacular leaps between hanging plants that were as much as 
two feet apart, and with the last leap he landed squarely on the back of a 
hapless female. She struggled valiantly to escape, poor dear, climbing 
laboriously up the screen while he clung to her back and bit her on the neck. 
At one point she even loosened her foothold on the screen and they fell 
together, landing with a small "thud" on a ledge. When this maneuver fail- 
ed to dislodge Champ, she began another grueling climb back up the screen 
with that great oaf still as firmly ensconced on her back as if he had been 
glued in place, still biting her neck. Finally, sheer exhaustion, I presume, 
overcame her and she submitted to her fate. Champ then wound his tail 
around hers, braced his feet, closed his eyes, and appeared to sleep. It 
seems to me she's the one who should be tired. After a surprisingly long in- 
terlude he released her, and with a good bit of aplomb, she turned and ate a 

When I recounted this episode to the psychologists in my department, 
they suggested that the females probably got their jollies by pretending to 
resist, which certainly tells you something about psychologists, doesn't it? 
And the biologists prated on about the necessity of the female being "sex- 
ually receptive" and all that for mating to occur. Pooh! I maintain that 
female was a reluctant maiden and that her ravaging was nothing short of 

Later I found I was defending my voyeurism to myself, passing it off as 
the "scientific investigation of the copulatory habits of the Anolis 
carolinesis" rather than prurient interest. This is in addition to justifying 
the time wasted when I should have been engaged in some sort of productive 
labor, not lolling on the patio watching lizards. I grew up in an era when 
girls hastily averted their eyes at the mating behavior of dogs in the court- 
yard, while loutish boys snouted and pointed at the offending scene, and 
made lewd remarks. They probably grew up to become psychologists. I 
was also taught that one must earn leisure time, and that time squanderers 
would be punished in the Hereafter. 

A propos of the cultural concepts of time, I once asked a class if time 
spent watching chameleons would be considered as frittering. The concen- 
sus was that it would indeed be considered frittering, which they thought 
was worse than puttering. Putterers were at least doing something, while 
fritterers were just doing nothing. One student did say the expenditure of 
time could be justified as "learning something about animal behavior." 
Not one suggested that chameleon-watching in particular, and backyard- 
watching in general, was okay for the sheer delight it gives me. An in- 


teresting commentary on the way Americans regard time and the correct 
way to use it. I used to keep a balance sheet in my head of time spent, and 
time frittered was entered in the debit column and had to be balanced by 
some useful endeavor such as cleaning the bathroom or weeding the garden. 
Lately I've come to consider chameleon-yard-watching as restoring my 
spirit and uplifting my soul, hence therapeutic, and 1 no longer need to enter 
it as a debit. 

Next time I'll tell you about the head grackle who monopolizes two 
bird baths, his own and the one I got for the sparrows. Or maybe I'll tell 
you about the grackle picnic attended by mothers and babies. Or the hum- 
mingbird who loses altitude on his backward flight from the nectar feeder. 
Or — 


Andrew Redux 

A cavalier marvel named Andy 

That quaint metaphysical dandy 

Offered versions of joy 

To his mistresses coy 

And kept aphrodisiacs handy. 

Robert Strozier 



Golden autumn sun 

Sparkling on golden 
Spring hair flowing 
over rosy cheeks. 

Eyes sparkly 

in setting sun 

(as texture and shade are mapped) 

and ruby lips smile 

(as camera snaps) 

as forty moods of green 

Surround us 

and red-orange leaves call us out of 

Summer's hiding-place. 

Winter cool blows 
through my hair, and 
Warm summer breezes 
around my feet, 
As spring -- April 
Showers and champagne 
Bubbles - 
Laughs at my side. 

Steve Ealy 


A Man Stood Facing Toward 
The Storm 

A man stood facing toward the storm, 
He stood and watched it all begin. 
He watched the gathering clouds take form 
And felt their tempest boil within. 

The rushing wind sang in his ears — 
Caressed his body and his face ~ 
Sped on like all the passing years, 
And urged his heart to faster pace. 

He watched the river* s roll increase 
From grey-green swell to darker wave 
That frothed and foamed surcease 
In answer to the wind's wild rave. 

Tumultuous clouds now filled the sky -- 
The marshes whipped, by storm affected » 
A brilliant lightening bolt on high 
The blackness of the clouds bisected. 

As mute, and overrawed he stood, 
He felt the power of the storm — 
Felt the wind whip where it would 
And wondered why he had been born. 

Then swiftly did his dark mood end 
And forgetful of his doubts and fears 
He felt a kinship with the wind ~ 
He felt the storm and he were peers. 

He thought, "We're brothers, you and I, " 
"Across the mighty seas we've fared. 
I've snatched your power from the sky, 
And sailed where others haven't dared. " 

"I've built machines faster than you — 
Used well my hands all of my life. 
I've done the best work that I knew - 
And borne erect my share of strife. " 


"In me there is a power stronger 
Than ail your shouting there above. 
I am alive! I will last longer ~ 
And I can laugh, and cry, and love!** 

"When you are gone, I'll still exist, 
Here, undiminished, on my land. 
I know, altho' there's joys I've missed, 
The best of all God's works is man. " 

Dana Wise Stern 

Mount St. Helens 

It is another morning, 
and the hummingbird comes. 
The melancholy clouds sift back 
the ashes spread upon their silk. 

If there's another pyre, remember hopes 
forever silenced by the shroud 
encircling those who went to climb 
the Jacob 's ladder of the heart. 

Patricia Robinson-King 


Urban Cleopatra 

O urban Cleopatras 

Twist my eyes 

Until my youth and hope pucker 

"Now her beauty, so it is reported, 
was not so passing as unmatchable 
of other women, nor yet such as 
upon present beauty did enamour men 
with her; but 

so sweet 
was her 

company and conversation 
that a man could not possibly but 
be taken in. " 

Hearing, or stirring our own dystrophic tongues 
With a sugared infant simper of love- 

in stalwart contadiction 

A Telecommunicated Touch 

Or an angry speech, an angry lack 
With passionate falsetto cracks- 

The urgent proscenium echos chasing 
From the early afternoon love broadcast 

or yes 



There are many 

Striding, swinging, swaying, sultry speaking 

And the less fabulous can be made up more 
But to find an equal beauty in her talk; 
A timeless... (sensuality) - oh - 
"Undying fascination" 

Logic (when desired) 
Devotion... caresses, fondling, fingers in my hair 
A nice husky voice, like 
Like on... 
Devotion - a real Portia 

But more like - 

Your urban Cleopatra, when she speaks - 

Which is enough, but not butting in or anything 

She laughs a lot. That's what pleasure is. 


She swings - 

A circumambulatory foot northeast 

The sequent skids on a nor 'west tack 

She swings - 

Her head 

And her hair, charged 

By a momentary gravitational clasp 


Rollicking around their center, the locks 
Flicker pasty strip illumination 
Frozen, too, are the stutters in her eyes 

But to find, in the foyer, an equal beauty 
A hotter light. 

Michael J. Alwan 












Joseph Conrad's View 

Of Man 


Vicki Hill 

This paper was written FALL 1983 for 

Mr. William Martin 's ENGLISH 201, 



Joseph Conrad's novella Heart Of Darkness is a masterpiece of English 
literature, a work of major importance for several reasons. At its lowest 
level, the story may be viewed as an adventure tale, complete with a lush but 
dangerous setting and an unusual cast of chracters. It may also be seen as 
Conrad's personal indictment of the injustices of the imperialist system of 
exploitation for profit. Both of these views are valid considerations, 
especially in light of the fact that Conrad himself had many experiences 
similar to those of his secondary narrator Charlie Marlow during the course 
of his own journey up the Congo. 

Edward Garnett, the man credited with the discovery of Conrad's 
talent, once called Heart Of Darkness: 

A most amazing, consummate piece of artistic diablerie-- 
an analysis of the white man's morale when let loose from 
European restaint, and panted down in the tropics as an 
'emissary of light' armed to the teeth to make trade profits 
out of subject races. The gulf between the white man's 
system and the black man's comprehension of its results- 
the unnerved, degenerating whites staring all day and every 
day at the heart of darkness which is alike meaningless and 
threatening to their own creed and conception of life.... 1 

Garnett is obviously concerned with the story mainly as a commentary on 
the colonizers and their treatment of the Congo natives. However, he also 
touches on the more important theme of the story. The title of the book 
itself is suggestive of the deeper meaning which Conrad intended. As Ian 
Watt writes in analysis of the title: 

The more concrete of the two terms, 'heart,' is attributed a 
strategic centrality within a formless and infinite abstrac- 
tion, 'darkness'; the combination defies both visualization 
and logic. How can something inorganic like darkness 
have an organic center of life and feeling? How can a 
shapeless absence of light compact itself into a formed and 
pulsing presence? And what are we to make of a 'good' en- 
tity like a heart becoming, of all things, a controlling part 
of a 'bad' one like darkness? 2 

All this is incomprehensible unless we consider, as Conrad intended, the im- 
plications it has on human attitudes and actions. By far the most important 
interpretation of the story is its chilling comment on the nature and condi- 
tion of man. The "degenerating whites" in the Congo, stripped of their 
social and moral standards of conduct, grow less and less civilized, more 
and more savage. It is Conrad's intention, through his somewhat exag- 
gerated portrayal of the changes that transform Kurtz and the others, to 
show how man, in the absence of outside restraints on his behaviour, must 
rely on internal character, often sadly lacking, to maintain the illusion of 

For to Conrad, civilization is merely an illusion, a subterfuge disguis- 
ing the true nature of man and society. Marlow makes this discovery during 


the course of his journey up the Congo. His comment concerning the civiliz- 
ed world of London that "this also has been one of the dark places of the 
earth" is indicative of Conrad's idea that civilization is a mere covering over 
the darkness within. "We are made to see civilization... as a brief interrup- 
tion of the normal rule of darkness." 3 

From this it naturally follows that man himself is equally hidden by 
layers of illusion which often successfully conceal his true nature, even from 
himself. As Linda Anderson writes: 

In Heart of Darkness it is one of Marlow's most fun- 
damental discoveries, forced on him by his entry into an 
alien environment, that people do not express their true 
identities but rather the roles assigned to them by their 
cultural situtations. 4 

Heart Of Darkness abounds with examples of "the superficiality and 
pretence of a mask. "(Anderson, p. 511) For instance, the accountant, 
whom Marlow meets at the first African trading station, keeps up an 
elaborately stylish and pretentious appearance in spite of theuselessnessof 
such an endeavour. Furthermore,the accountant is extremely devoted to his 
work, and allows no interference from such trivialities as dying natives or 
sick men. Although the accountant's affectations are obviously false and 
absurdly out of place, Marlow respects the man's tenacity in holding on to 
what is important to him. 

Marlow, then, seems to accept the fact that men mask their true ap- 
pearences, attitudes, and character. Even he, who "hates a lie," finds 
himself masking truth in his lie to Kurtz's intended. His purpose in lying is 
to allow the woman to keep her illusions of Kurtz intact. For as he says, 
without illusion life would be "too dark-to dark altogether." 

Conrad is aware of the importance of maintaining illusions. As Robert 
Penn Warren expresses it: 

...the last wisdom is for man to realize that though his 
values are illusions, the illusion is necessary, is infinitely 
precious, is the mark of his human achievment, and is, in 
the end, his only truth. 5 

To live without the comforting illusions of civilization-religion, morality, 
generosity, etc. -leads, in Heart Of Darkness, to the creature Kurtz 

becomes, a monster of greed, corruption, and enormous power loosed on 
the jungle to take his fill of whatever he wants. It is apparently Conrad's 
opinion that man, when freed from the restraining influences of civiliza- 
tion, is nothing more than an especially cunning beast. He shares this view 
with the great seventeenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, 
who wrote that the life of man in the state of nature (that is, without socie- 
ty) is necessarily "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." 6 

Throughout the story, Conrad expresses the idea of Nature as hostile 
and indifferent to the sufferings of men. He is aware of the way in which en- 
vironment affects a man's behaviour and outlook. It is easy for men living 
in civilized Europe, men "moored with good addresses," to despise the lack 
of restraint and decorum displayed by Kurtz. However, when cut adrift 


from the influences of society and left at the mercy of nature and his own 
dark needs, a man can revert to the savagery from which he came and to 
which he is inseverably linked. Man's individuality is dependent on his in- 
teraction with the larger group. Kurtz, by depending solely on himself and 
dissociating himself from all cultural infuences, is forced to face his true 
nature, dark and greedy and uncontollable. (Anderson, p. 5 14) 

In spite of Kurtz's monstrousness, he gains Marlow's respect and ad- 
miration. Part of the reason for Marlow's affinity with Kurtz is the similari- 
ty between their goals. At the outset of his mission, Kurtz had nothing but 
good intentions and high-minded ideals, conceptions which were* 'purely in- 
dividualistic, supremely romantic, and grossly melodramatic." 7 Marlow 
and Kurtz share certain values at first, and both come to realize through 
their experiences the worthlessness and absurdity of such values. Even the 
one redeeming quality which Kurtz possesses, his devotion to his life's 
work, comes to a foul end. "Through Kurtz's experience, Marlow learns 
that a man is defined by his work: Kurtz's work has created a hell in the 
jungle, which destroys him." 8 

Regardless of the lesson he learns from his brief contact with Kurtz, 
Marlow remains faithful to the "nightmare of his choice," even going so 
far as to lie for him. This, again, indicates his acceptance of Kurtz and what 
he becomes as natural and inevitable considering the circumstances. "Con- 
rad's concern is with a powerful sense of potential weakness and betrayal 
lurking under an apparent confidence in an established code of behaviour 
and waiting for the right circumstances of stress to emerge, often with 
devastating power." 9 Marlow becomes familiar with this potential within 
all men, himself included, and this explains his relative lack of revulsion for 
Kurtz. It also explains his attitude toward what he terms the "flabby devil" 
of the establishment, those men who feel the same urges and temptations 
that Kurtz does, but who lack the honesty and forthrightness to give way to 
these desires. 

Conrad's view of man is strikingly similar to that of his contemporary, 
Sigmund Freud. Freud thought society necessary to protect man from his 
two greatest enemies; the external enemy, Nature, and the internal enemy, 
the nature of man. 10 Freud held that man was ruled in everything by his 
"id," that greedy and selfish child of the subconcious that demands the 
satisfaction of all lusts and appetites, and is held in check by the counter- 
balancing forces of the ego and the super-ego. Freud was convinced that 
civilization was merely a means to control and restrain man's natural 
tendencies. Conrad is showing in Heart Of Darkness the results of removing 
the restraints of civilization and allowing the id to reign unchecked. (Watt, 

Conrad's unmistakable concern with nature and its effects on man is 
linked to a popular nineteenth-century scietific trend, Charles Darwin's 
theory of evolution. The idea of the "survival of the fittest" was frequently 
used to justify the exploitation of the Congo natives. Conrad, in reversing 
the commonly held notion of evolution to demonstrate Kurtz's regression to 
man's former savagery, is challenging the Social Darwinism "progress" 
mentality of the time. 

Darwin's theory of evolution was a great departure in thinking for the men 
of that time. However, it was consistent with the necessary illusions of in- 
evitable progress and the reasonable orderliness of nature and man that still 
prevailed. Throughout Heart Of Darkness Conrad disputes these 


nineteenth-century ideas by showing inevitable regression and the absurdity 
of nature. 

In Conrad's day, disillusionment with religion and political systems led 
men to embrace ideas like Social Darwinism and imperialism. A steady 
breakdown of values that previously were widely held was the result. 
Nineteenth-century thinkers were concerned, as Ian Watt writes, that "the 
disappearance of God would destroy all social and moral sanctions for in- 
dividual conduct, and that thereafter, in Tennyson's words, men would 
'submit all things to desire.' " (Watt, p. 116) In Heart Of Darkness, Kurtz 
does indeed experience this, and the absence of the god of social influence 
leads him to follow the idea of evolution through to its natural conse- 
quences; he takes over the role of God himself. "Man's last evolutionary 
leap was to be up to the throne that he had emptied; up, and yet, at the same 
time, it seemed, far down, and far back." (Watt, p. 119) 

Kurtz's adventure as God fails miserably. His power is used in the 
satisfaction of his own bestial lusts and desires; and he completely rejects 
his former philanthropic stance. The only result of his "kinship with this 
wild and passionate uproar" is his decline into a savagery far exceeding that 
even of his "adorers," the cannibalistic natives. In showing this 
phenomenon of deterioration, Conrad is clearly demonstrating his own opi- 
nion of the true, deepest nature of man. Even his main concern in the story, 
the semi-autobiographical character of Marlow, shows this inner darkness, 
as he accepts almost without question Kurtz's behavior and nature. 

However, Conrad softens his view of man by offering many examples 
of the outside pressures that lead to Kurtz's loss of restraint and reversion to 
savagery, the foremost of which is the influence of nature. The most horri- 
ble aspect of the entire story is Marlow 's realization of the similarities bet- 
ween himself, Kurtz, and the natives. His growing consciousness of the true 
nature of man, as seen not only in Kurtz, but also in many of the other men 
he encounters, forces Marlow to concede that the world in which he has had 
so much faith is in reality only a temporary and illusory vision, and cannot 
last or triumph over the undeniable nature of man and society. 

Conrad expresses his own final view of man in a letter to his friend 
Cunningham Graham; 

What makes men tragic... is not that they are victims of 
nature, it is that they are conscious of it.... There is no 
morality, no knowledge, and no hope; there is only the 
consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world 
that whether seen as a convex or a concave mirror is 
always but a vain and fleeting appearance. (Watt, p. 105) 

Marlow 's dawning consciousness of the real nature of man is the focal point 
of the story, as is his realization that his world no longer makes sense 
because his illusions have been shattered by his contact with Kurtz. 

In Heart of Darkness Conrad takes the reader on a frightening journey 
behind the mask of society to view the true heart of man in all its darkness. 
Fortunately, the glimpse he gives us, though powerful and effective, is not 
the final word. Kurtz's dying cry, "the horror," although it can be inter- 
preted in many ways, possibly is meant as a genuine epiphany; perhaps 
Kurtz does realize the error of his ways and the "horror" of what he 
becomes. But even if this is not so, even if his cry was merely another 


manifestation of his selfish nature and he was horrified only of dying before 
his work was done, the story still holds a bright hope for the future. This 
hope is Marlow. For as long as people such as Marlow can exist, people who 
are honest and hard-working and intelligent enough to know their limita- 
tions and weaknesses, then Conrad's view of man, though dark, cannot be 
totally black and hopeless. 


1 Robert F. Haugh, "Heart of Darkness: Problem for Critics," in 
Heart of Darkness: Essays in Criticism, ed. Robert Kimbrough (New York: 
W. W. Norton and Company, 1963), p. 164. 

2 Ian Watt, "Impressionism and Symbolism in Heart of Darkness," in 
Joseph Conrad: a Commemoration, ed. Norman Sherry (London: The 
Macmillan Press Ltd., 1976), p. 52. 

3 Ian Watt, "Heart of Darkness and Nineteenth-Century Thought," 
Partisan Review, 45 no. 1 (1978), 109. This article is cited herafter as 

4 Linda R. Anderson, "Ideas of Identity and Freedom in V. S. Naipaul 
and Joseph Conrad," English Studies, 59 (1978), 511. This article is cited 
herafter as Anderson. 

5 John A. Palmer, Joseph Conrad's Fiction: A Study in Literary 
Growth (Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press, 1968), p. 32. 

6 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, in Heritage of Western Civilization, 
Volume II, ed. John L. Beatty and Oliver A. Johnson (Englewood Cliffs, 
N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982) p. 49. 

7 John Oliver Perry, "Action, Vision, of Voice; The Moral Dilemmas 
in Conrad's Tale Telling," Modern Fiction Studies, 10 (1964), 6. 


8 Lillian Feder, ' barlow's Descent Into Hell," in Heart of Darkness: 
Essays in Criticism, ed. Robert Kimbrough (New York: W. W. Norton and 
Company, 1963) p. 187. 

9 Douglas Hewitt, Conrad: A Reassessment (Totowa, N. J.: Rowman 
and Littlefield, 1975) p. 129. 

10 Alan M. Hollingsworth, * 'Freud, Conrad, and the Future of an Illu- 
sion,' ■ in Heart of Darkness: Essays in Criticism, ed. Robert Kimbrough 
(New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1963) p. 177. 



The following two papers were written WINTER 1984 for 

Dr. Lori Roth 's ENGLISH 201, 


THE MILLER, writing to 

Marilyn Daniels 

To my Elder Sister Prudence, 

Why did I let you talk me into this trip? I don't really believe in this St. 
Thomas fella and my wart don't bother me like yours do. You shoulda 
gone to Canterbury for yourself. It would pay you right if this Becket guy 
only had one wart cure in him. 

You oughta see the other people in this group. Whata crazy mix. We 
got everything from a high bred knight to a group of nuns and priests down 
to a reever. Most of them are putt'n on airs like this was some kind of high, 
religious happening stead of them just going a begging like a commoner. 
And to make matters the worst, there's not a respectable drinker in the lot. 
I sure miss my tavern buddies back home. Old Josh may be a sloppy drunk 
but by golly he makes a night worth remember' n. 

We got this high talking man gonna make us swap stories all the way to 
Canterbury and back. Says the best story will win a dinner back at the 
tavern. But there ain't a decent tale among this whole group. Old Josh 
could'a sure set their ears a'burnin. I'll tell one of his best when it comes 
my turn. I ain't bother'n to listen to most of these stories but I have caught 


The knight kinda surprized me. You would think a man with soldier 
training and fight'n skills wouldn't have much book learn'n but this guy 
told a right powerful story. It was all full of courage and honor and love 
and duty and it had a lot of flowery words, but it was a pretty good tale. He 
appears to be a high bred type and it ain't gone to his head like some. He 
don't all the time push it on you but you know he's something special with a 
high calling. 

The nun, though, is a different piece of cloth. She wears the habit and 
says the words but you can tell she don't have her heart right. She keeps 
three scrawny mutts and wears gold jewelry and pays too much attention to 
how she looks to be making serious plans for the next life. Her story was a 
bomb about what she called the virtues of chastity. Ha! Old Josh would'a 
laughed her off the road. But at the end, her true self sneaked in and allow- 
ed as how if everyone practiced chastity, pretty soon there wouldn't be 
anyone left to practice anything. 

Oh ho! The guy on the horse in front of me just fell off and landed flat 
out in a pile of road apples. Boy, the language! If some of these stuffed 
shirts loosen up a little maybe this won't be such a bad trip. 

One thing scares me a little out here. This country is a lot bigger than 
you think about. I mean, being stuck at home all the time don't give you a 
reason to think about much you don't know. 

Just finished tell'n my story! Used Old Josh's tale about the old cob- 
bler who married the young wife. Course I changed it a little so it would be 
about a carpenter instead of a cobbler. I did this cause the Reeve used to be 
a carpenter and I don't like his looks. He's promised to pay me back when 
it's his turn but I ain't worried. He's a thin, mean looking man, getting old 
and he keeps to himself too much. Besides, he don't like my bagpipe play- 

One member on this trip I got to tell you about. We call her the Wife 
of Bath. This woman has been married five times already. She's a happy, 
party type, but she ain't real pretty. She does have red hair like you, Pru, 
but she's a lot heavier. Instead of warts, her bad point is a big gap in her 
teeth. Maybe I should invite her home and she can teach you how to catch a 
husband. One of her good points is that she is a classy dresser. She can also 
ride a horse good as any man I know. But mainly, she laughs a lot and 
listens well and is just fun to be around. 

Somebody just hollered he was hungry so we're going to stop for 
lunch. I'll post this letter to you now and maybe it will get home before I 

Your brother, 


WIFE OF BATH to the 


the wif e of Bath's sister 

Misty DeGross 

Dearest Wife of Tub, 

I am writing to you in the hope that you could know of my most recent 
pilgrimage to Canterbury. I am without a husband as my fifth has passed 
away, but I do have five pilgrims to travel with. My five companions con- 
sist of a Knight, Miller, Reeve, Pardoner, and Nun. We are in our fifth day 
of travel and many strange dreams have filled my sleep. I wish to share my 
dreams with you, for if I were to speak of my dreams to my company, they 
would know my most secret mission and thus my search for a sixth husband 
would be far too long. 

Let me begin with the first night as I slept in the Tabard Inn. The night 
had been a joyful one as we pilgrims told tales to pass the time. Most tales 
suited me because the tales were of lustful love, which you know is my 
weakness. Anyways, as I passed to sleep I began to dream of the Knight 
and myself. He was so strong and distinguished as he approached the table 
and asked me to dance. I immediately accepted and we danced until the 
music stopped. His chest felt fine against my breast and thoughts raced 
through my mind of how it would be for him to pay his debt to me. I 
departed to my room hoping that he would follow. The Knight did not. In- 
stead he raced to my balcony and started singing praises of me. He sang 
about my proud being, fashionable dress, and beautiful body. I ran to the 
balcony and found him standing there. He kneeled and kissed my hand. 
"May I have the honor of paying you my debt," he asked, as he rose from 
his knee. Alas! I never thought he'd ask! But I knew I had more to gain 
than he, so I asked him for some token of his passion for me. "I shall give 
you my finest horse, he said, "so you may ride to Canterbury with the 
greatest of comfort.' * I accepted this offer and we made love the entire 
night. When I awoke I was alone, only to find that half of my bed was 

On the second day we began our pilgrimage early and stopped later that 
evening at another inn, called the Grainer Inn. From the time we departed 
the Tabard Inn until we arrived at the Grainer Inn, the Knight had only 
looked at me once and that was when my hat of scarves accidentally toppled 
from my head to the ground. I reached for the hat, but the Miller beat me 
to it and handed the hat to me. "I'd like to have this heavy hat handy when 
I weigh the grain," he said with a chuckle, as we continued our pilgrimage. 


I said aloud, " Better to have a ten-pound hat on my head than a ten 
-pound wart on my nose!" Laughter filled the air as the Miller's face turn- 
ed as red as his beard. Time went fast as we chatted and drank in the 
Grainer Inn and soon it was time for rest. 

Let me now begin with the second dream. I was in a strange place, a 
mill it seemed to be, and suddenly the Miller appeared before me. His eyes 
were filled with lust as he marched toward me. My mind was debating 
whether or not to accept his gestures, but I decided to play a little game with 
him. "If you give me a token of our night together, I shall give you a night 
to remember," I said . His face lit up like a virgin boy as he said, "I shall 
give you my bagpiped only after I have my way with you! " With his brawn, 
he forced me to the ground and began to grab my posterior. I laughed sexi- 
ly, letting him think he was giving me great pleasure, but my pleasure was 
the gift I was about to receive. He worked hard throughout the night as I 
made him feel he was giving me great pleasure. He finally fell asleep atop 
me and I soon followed, only to awake alone, and to find that half of my 
bed was unslept. 

We did not depart early the next day because the Reeve had delayed our 
pilgrimage. He made a bet with the barmaid that he could guess the Inn's 
last year's grain yield by looking at this year's. The Reeve won his bet and 
remained extremely cocky for the remainder of the day. 

Let me begin my dream on the third night as I slept at Carpenter Inn. I 
was fast asleep as I was suddenly overcome with the smell of sawdust. I felt 
someone's long thin fingers touch my face. The Reeve was lying beside me. 
"MY! We sure are confident, aren't we!" I said as he grinned cunningly. 
"I want you," he said. I laughed. "I knew you couldn't resist me," I said. 
He replied, "I want you - now!" "What will you give me?" I said. "I 
will give you a coat that was my Dutchess of Norfolk's," he said. He placed 
the coat on my chair and had his way with me. When I awoke, I was alone, 
only to find that half of my bed was unslept. 

Now, my dearest Wife of Tub, comes the last dream which was drempt 
at the Rome Inn. I had slept hard that night until I heard a strange, high 
pitched voice singing through my door. I opened the door to find the Par- 
doner standing, staring at me with his bulging eyes. "I have come unto you 
bringing four pardons in hope that you would allow me to show you my 
love," he said. Grabbing the four pardons from his hand, I pulled him in- 
side. "If you love me, show me," I said, laughing to myself. He quickly 
undressed and revealed unto me a most feminine figure. I had four pardons 
I thought, so what's a little fun going to matter? I let the Pardoner caress 
my body as I thought of how much a woman he favored. I never had such a 
terrible time in bed! I fell asleep while he was still working hard! When I 
awoke, I was alone, only to find that half of my bed was unslept. 

Well, Wife of Tub, we are in our fifth day of travel and I have analyzed 
my dreams and have realized what all four dreams mean. For the first 
dream with the Knight, the horse was a sign of my stubborness. As people 
say, "She's as stubborn as a horse's ass." In the second dream I was given 
bagpipes, a place to blow my hot air into. The third gift was a coat, to cover 
my gaudy clothes and ugly body with and the fourth gift was four pardons 
to take away my four sins of this pilgrimage. My sins are my dreams and I 
now realize I am too old to find a sixth husband. 


Today, the fifth day of our pilgrimage, I have confessed all my sins to 
the Prioress. She is taking me back to the convent so I can live the rest of 
my days in solitude. I have found my sixth marriage with the Church. 

My faith is with you and God, 
Wife of Bath 



William Faulkner's 
Methodical Madness 

Chris Fuhrman 

This paper was written SUMMER 1983 for 

Dr. Robert Strozier's ENGLISH 402, 



Insanity is more integral to a William Faulkner novel than punctua- 
ion. Bizarre and convoluted rhetoric often conveys the reader into gothic 
worlds populated by lunatics, idiots, and tragic misfits who command one's 
empathy and seem to speak with a voice much like Faulkner's own. These 
characters are more than sensational devices. They exist not only as 
valuable literary entities but as reflections of the author's psyche and sym- 
bols of universal significance, the parallel traumas of the loss of innocence 
and the corruption of modern civilization. 

Faulkner's mad heros are in the literary tradition of strange characters 
created by Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dostoevsky and Melville. 1 His affinity 
'or lunatics is evident in the protaganists of his earlier works: the idiot Ben- 
jy in The Sound And The Fury; 2 Horace Benbow, the despairing hero of 
Sanctuary; Joe Christmas, the confused protagonist of Light In August; 
Darl Bundren of As I Lay Dying; and Quentin Compson in The Sound And 
The Fury and Absalom, Absalom! These last two especially seem to share 
many of the author's problems and obsessions. Faulkner's madmen, with 
the notable exception of Popeye 3 (SA), are seldom perceived as intentional- 
ly malevolent. Rather, they are among his most sensitive, noble, intelligent 
and sympathetic creations, and he expected the reader to share his em- 
pathies for them. 

Faulkner has assured us that Darl is quite insane, 4 yet he has con- 
structed As I Lay Dying so that we will closely identify with this particular 
character. 5 Darl's monologue is the first in the book and the medium 
through which we meet the Bundren family. His subsequent monologues 
are more abundant than any of the others (he talks to us more), and his 
poetic eloquence induces us to see him as the most intelligent person in the 
book. It has been argued that his insanity is apparent from the beginning, in 
his dissociated ramblings after the accident as he tries to sleep in a 
neighbor's house: 

In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. 
And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And 
when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when 
you are filled with sleep, you never were.I don't know what 
I am. I don't know if I am or not. Jewel knows he is, 
because he does not know that he does not know whether 
he is or not. He cannot empty himself for sleep because he 
is not what he is and he is what he is not... And Jewel is, so 
Addie Bundren must be. And then I must be, or I could 
not empty myself for sleep in a strange room. And so if I 
am not emptied yet, I am is. AILD (76) 

Although this interior monologue can be interpreted as an unhealthy 
prelude to madness, it might also be seen as the ruminations of an intelligent 
young man who, unlike his less cerebral brother, questions existence, reali- 
ty, and identity. Note the similarities with the following: 

So, because our senses sometimes play us false, I decided 
to suppose that there was nothing at all which was such as 
they cause us to imagine it... And finally, considering that 


all the same thoughts that we have when we are awake can 
also come to us when we are asleep, without any one of 
them then being true, I resolved to pretend that nothing 
which had ever entered my mind was any more true than 
the illusions of my dreams. But immediately afterwards I 
became aware that, while I decided thus to think that every 
thing was false, it followed necessarily that I who thought 
thus must be something; and observing that this truth: I 
think, therefore I am, was so certain and so evident... that I 
could accept it without scruple as the first principle of the 
philosophy I was seeking. 6 

This passage paradoxically shares with Dad's a sense of dislocation and 
strangeness, yet it was written by Rene Descartes, the father of modern 
philosophy. Rather than lable Descartes a lunatic, one is compelled to 
reassess Dad's perceptions. 

Identifying with Darl rather than his family or neighbors is inevitable, 
for it is Darl who takes safety first as the wagon spills into the river (145); 
who, disgusted at the charade of parading with a putrifying corpse, tries to 
destroy it in a fire (208); who restrains his brother from a knife fight (220); 
and who intuits that which he has not observed and describes it more vividly 
than those who have seen (71). "It is surely this rustic Hamlet who has the 
closest affinities with his creator... Dad is Faulkner's portrait of the artist as 
a young madman." 7 

Quentin Compson is likewise disturbed, yet his pain is so expressively 
rendered that one cannot help but empathize. Though he is also quite in- 
telligent, and Harvard educated, it is his idealism and sensitivity which 
cause his derangement. Edmond L. Volpe describes Quentin's interior 
monologue as a "heartfelt cry of despair, one of the most moving expres- 
sions of disillusionment and suffering in literature," and compares his 
plight to that of Satre and the existentialists. 8 Quentin seems far more pas- 
sionate and noble than his peers, for example, when he defends the honor of 
women (SAF-199), or observes that "a nigger is not a person so much as a 
form of behaviour; a sort of obverse reflection of the white people he lives 
among." (106) He is not a suicidal maniac so much as a brilliant young man 
who has seen more of life than he can assimilate. His is an "adolescent mind 
in stasis," paralyzed by the chasm between his childhood ideas and the 
realities, primarily sexual, of adulthood. 9 

Other insane characters who engender sympathy are similarly un- 
prepared to deal with reality. Benjy is innocent and loving-an eternal in- 
fant; Joe Christmas is a prisoner of his cruel childhood with a proclivity for 
disaster; Ike McCaslin, of Go Down Moses, repudiates his birthright 
because of an inherited curse. Faulkner's early books abound with such 

The counterpoint to these doomed epicene poets and misfits is the ra- 
tional man of action such as Jason Compson and Jewel Bundren. Faulkner 
has called Jason "the first sane Compson since before Culoden, and... the 
last." 10 However, Jason can function better than Quentin only because his 
values are those of modern society-he is generally regarded as a hateful 
villain, even by his creator who called him "the most vicious character... I 
ever thought of." 11 Jewel, the physically oriented counterpart of Darl, is far 
less interesting than his brother and often less sensible-Dad frequently 


manipulates him. Jewel is as incapable of madness as he is of Darl's keen 
observations and descriptions. 12 Perhaps the only well-adjusted people in 
Faulkner are extroverted paradigms of endurance such as Lena Grove of 
Light in. August, or Dilsey of The Sound And The Fury, who display a 
healthy stock of sensibility, love, and faith. 

Several of the insane personae display a quixotic defiance of the ra- 
tional world. They would rather lose everything than adapt to a world not 
of their own creation. Quentin, Darl, Horace, Benjy, Joe, and Ike are por- 
trayed as literal or emotional adolescents whose personal traumas are 
thematically extended to represent universal tragedy. In general, they are 
doomed by their own sensitivities because they perceive the monstrous ab- 
surdity of existence. Faulkner seems to equate the imposition of maturity on 
these innocents with the encroachment of modernity on tradition. Benjy 
wails at every change in the status quo- from the loss of his sister's virginity 
to the general decay of the South: 

Then Ben wailed again, hopeless and prolonged. It was 
nothing. Just sound. It might have been all time and in- 
justice and sorrow become vocal for an instant by a con- 
junction of planets. (SAF-359) 

Quentin's honeysuckle summer, and Rosa's wistaria summer in Ab- 
salom, Absalom! are permeated with a sense of sexual nausea, a virginal 
dilemma of "love struggling against lust." 13 It is certainly a modern, cerebal 
problem since a purely physical being such as a lower animal would not be 
troubled so by morality. In The Sound And The Fury water is frequently us- 
ed as a symbolic means of cleansing the stains of sexuality. Water is 
employed when Caddy washes off her perfume (59), and when she looses 
her virginity (84), and when Quentin makes his "fictional retreat to the 
waters of the womb... that could not wash out the stain of her lust." 14 

Darl seems to share this refusal to mature; in fact, his monologues are 
strangely approximated by his youngest brother, Vardaman. Darl is 
oblivious to Eula's flirtations (AILD-9), and he seems to associate sex with 
an obscene spyglass which contains a scene of a woman coupled with a pig 

Horace Bendow experiences extreme disillusionment as he realizes that 
even the most idealized of women have sexual desires. This knowledge 
causes him to vomit (SA-216). Joe Christmas has the same cathartic reac- 
tion when he dates the woman to whom he will lose his virginity (LIA-178). 
Even the less extreme characters such as Ike McCaslin are revolted by the 
realities of adulthood. His repudiation of his inheritance and primitive ac- 
ceptance of simpler values makes him an anachronism. These lost boys who 
won't grow up seem to symbolize that which Old Ben epitomized in 
Faulkner's most famous short story, "The Bear"-old ways and innocent 
times which are rapidly disappearing. Faulkner himself said that the 
predominance of psychological breakdown is an "ephemeral symptom of 
the fear which has come about through the new pressures man has invented 
for himself this century." 15 Cleanth Brooks, however, maintains that label- 
ing all of Faulkner's negros, idiots, and children as primitives is misleading, 
as is the tendency to equate their traumas only with the corruption of the 
old South: 


For it disposes the reader to see as local and sociological- ^ 

ly special what is in its essence universal. Faulkner is not 
concerned merely with the collapse of the old order in the 
South: he is concerned with the possibilities for order in 
the world of modern man. 16 

Faulkner is describing not only his characters' or his own adolescence but 
the transition of the old world into the new. Modern man cannot avoid the 
problems that a cerebal approach to life brings: 

The wilderness to me was the past, which could be the old 
evils, the old forces, which were by their own standards 
right and correct, ruthless, but they lived and died by their 
own code-they asked nothing. 17 

The man who clings to the past must suffer the consequences: alienation; in- 
sanity; destruction. Unlike many of his doomed creations, Faulkner preach- 
ed endurance as the ultimate virtue and warned us not to " revert to an 
idyllic condition in which the dream made us believe that we were happy. " 18 

"To define madness,'' Shakeapeare wrote "what is't but to be nothing 
else but mad? " 19 Remeiibering that insanity is a relative term, a good case 
can be made for William Faulkner's madness, and subsequently, that of his 

Conspicuously little is known of Faulkner's formative years. He was 
born and raised in Mississippi and formally educated only to about junior 
high school. His early years must have been peppered with stories of his 
great-grandfather Col. William C. Faulkner-jailer, pamphleteer, soldier, 
lawyer, duelist, railroad magnate, best-selling novelist, and politician. As a 
teen, Billy Faulkner began to write poetry, and perhaps this is when a 
palapable change occured: 

By now his generally remote and dreamy behaviour began 
to be commonly noted, and though he still pitched in 
baseball season and quarterbacked pick-up football teams, 
he was decidedly different from the rest. He wrote and 
drew, and he read. He was silent and tended to keep to 
himself. Some of the students at the Oxford High School 
began to tease him and call him "quair." He made no 
response. 20 

Like Darl and Quentin he was alienated from his peers. He was delicately 
built and extremely short, and seems to have associated tallness with 
masculinity. 21 His childhood sweetheart entered into a convenient marriage 
with another boy. Young Faulkner worked at several unfulfilling jobs and 
began to drink heavily. One can only speculate on the variety of demons 
which may have tormented this rural teenage poet at the tumultuous start of 
the twentieth century. 

One demon who may have haunted Billy Faulkner was the spectre of 
his great-grandfather. It was likely that this ancestor was used as a yardstick 
against which the small, quiet and seemingly indolent boy failed to measure 
up. This demon emerged later in Faulkner's writings in the avatars of Col- 






pel Sartoris and Sutpen. Faulkner's ambivilance to these characters in- 
dicates that he had morally condemned them but was fascinated by their 
masculine force. 22 

Faulkner's creations agonize over his own apparent obsessions. Incest, 
death, miscegenation, decay, alchoholism, insanity and a panoply of other 
morbid subjects infest his work. He has stated that his works were a com- 
bination of "experience, observation, (and) imagination," 23 and one can 
pnly guess which characters are most like their creator. As already noted, 
|he most obvious autobiography seems to be rooted in Quentin and Darl. 
^Stella Schoenberg has observed: 

It is enough to the point that Quentin' s suicidal despair is 
extraordinarily well-imagined and that generally 
acknowledged alternatives to the irreversible plunge into 
oblivion include alchohol and the creative imagination, 
both of which Faulkner knew well. 24 

It is interesting to note that Faulkner, for whatever reasons, did turn to 
reative expression as an outlet. Unlike his misfits he thrived on hardship 
ind struggle even in his writing. He said on several occasions that if he 
wrote something that was perfect, that satisfied him completely, "nothing 
remains but to cut the throat and quit." 25 It is probable that Billy Faulkner 
mdured "a honeysuckle summer" wherein love became complicated, 
values became empty, and heros suddenly seemed unheroic, but that it 
strengthened him, as steel is tempered by fire, and relegated the flawed per- 
sonae of Quentin and Darl to the scrap pile of the might-have-been to be ex- 
amined later. 

Faullkner uses several unusual techniques to portray his characters' 
states of mind. He was essentially a short story writer 26 and many of his 
novels are collections of complete shorter stories or of one story fragmented 
land retold through several viewpoints. The schizophrenic shifts in As I Lay 
Dying give a unique, strangely transcendental overview of the action which 
[mirrors Darl's ability to comprehend several distinct points of view and to 
vividly imagine what he cannot have seen. The multiple viewpoints of Ab- 
salom, Absalom! and especially those of The Sound And The Fury-idiot 
receptor, suicidal narcissist, rational sociopath and limited omniscent- 
Irepeat and clarify the story through a variety of styles appropriate to the 
narrators. If Faulkner's own remarks are to be believed he wrote many of 
his books with a minimum of conscious preparation and at furious speeds. 
It is as if the collective unconscious that is so prevelant in his works is the 
source of much of his inspiration. Within his books the physical becomes 
metaphysical, the personal becomes universal, and the insignificant 
becomes sublime-as if all time were simultaneous, myriad generations are 
the same protoplasm, and the gods lurk somewhere just beyond the page. 
Faulkner's weird brillance is as terrible and mysterious as that of his crea- 
tions who spill, living and breathing, from his brain and into the minds of 
readers, who only in retrospect realize that they have been mesmerized by a 

Early in his career Faulkner, sounding very much like one of his disillu- 
sioned characters, said: 


When a man learns to read, he learns of the tragedy and 
despair of his own kind which he himself may suffer. It is 
better for him not to know this since he may escape it, but 
once he reads it, it is a part of his life-a part of his own ex- 
perience. 27 

Faulkner, the world-weary poet, was already tainted by the fruit of that for- 
bidden tree-the escape of the innocent lay barred behind him. Later, 
perhaps having exorcised his demons by capturing them in print, he amend- 
ed his statement. Regarding the poetic individual, he said: 

It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by 
reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and 
pride and compassion and pity and sacrafice which have 
been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely 
be the record of mankind, it can be one of the props, the 
pillars to help him endure and prevail. 28 

It took William Faulkner half a lifetime, but he finally realized that there is, 
and always has been, a method in the madness. 


1 Faulkner often cites these as among the authors of his favorite 
books. See Robert A. Jelliffe, ed., Faulkner At Nagano (Tokyo: Kenkyusha 
Press, 1956), p. 42. 

2 After the initial reference, titles of primary sources and page numbers 
will be incorporated into the body of the paper parenthetically. Abbrevia- 
tions will be as follows: Absalom, Absalom! (AA), As I Lay Dying (AILD), 
Light In August (LIA), Sanctuary (SA), and The Sound And The Fury 
(SAF). Pagination concurs with the Random House editions. 

3 Hervey Cleckey, The Mask of Sanity (St. Louis: The C.V. Mosby 
Co., 1950), p. 106. 

4 Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, Faulkner in the Universtiy 
(Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1959), p. 110. 


5 John K. Simon, "What Are You Laughing At Darl?" College 
English, 25 (Nov. 1963), 106. 

6 Rene Descartes, Discourse On Method And The Meditations, trans. 
F.E. Sutcliffe (New York: Penguin Books, 1968), pp. 53-54. 

7 Andre Bleikasten, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, trans. Roger Little 
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973), p. 90. 

8 Edmond Volpe, A Reader's Guide To William Faulkner (New York: 
Farran, Straus and Giroux, 1964), p. 118. 

9 Ibid. 

10 SAF p. 420 (Appendix) 

H James B. Meriwether and Michael Millgate, Lion In The Garden 
(New York: Random House, 1968), p. 146. 

12 Simon, p. 106. 

13 Melvin Backman, "Faulkner's Sick Heroes," Modern Fiction 
Studies, 2 (Autumn 1956), p. 104. 

14 Ibid., p. 106. 

15 Joseph L. Fant and Robert Ashley, Faulkner At West Point (New 
York: Random House, 1964), p. 80. 

16 "Primitivism in The Sound And The Fury," English Institute 
Essays 1952, Alan S. Downer ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 
1954), p. 17. 

17 Jellife, p. 50. 

18 Ibid., p. 78. 

19 William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet (New York: Signet, 
1963), p. 77. 

20 Joseph Blotner, Faulkner, vol. I (New York: Random House, 1974), 
p. 160. 

21 Backman, p. 98. 

22 Ibid., p. 108 

23 Meriwether, p. 248. 

24 Estella Schoenberg, Old Tales and Talking (Jackson: University 
Press of Mississippi, 1977), p. 13. 


25 Fant, p. 49 

26 Volpe, p. 29. 

27 Meriwether, pp. 14-15. 

28 Fant, p. 132. 




To Look Beyond The Meaning 
Of Unmeaning 

Rita B. Enzmann 


This paper is one in a series of three papers written SPRING 1983 for 
Dr. Bradford L. Crain's ENGLISH 422, APPROACHES TO 

Each paper concentrates on and emphasizes an area of writing and language 

This paper focuses on Semantics : How words and their meanings 

- relate facts and feelings about a specif ic place at a specific time, 

- reflect how we think and communicate with each other, and 

- create our perception of the world in which we live. 



Out of the cold drizzle of fear and uncertainty, 

The present slipping under our feet, 

Breathing the doom hanging over Krakow 

From the steel complex, Nowa Huta, 

And courage, poison in Polish lungs- 

The little kawiarnia, a cafe in a side street off the Rynek, 

Was warm, intimate, a hermitage of courtesy, 

And we were, briefly, safe. 

Lithe Jolanta of the melancholoy eyes 
That could burn green at times. 

The deep red wine sparkled like blood 

In its candle-lighted beaker. 

The sweet roll melted like salvation on our tongues, 

And we became transfigured, common humanity. 

Life started to go on in conversation despite history. 

Her voice almost whispered a retired, intellectual father 

Who inspired his daughters to look beyond the meaning of unmeaning, 

A sister finding a life in London 

As if economics weren 't really fate, 

Her young son kicking his toys around at midnight 

To prove nothing has priority over self. 

Older by a generation, still 

I didn't feel like her grandfather, nor fatherly- 

The first time in my life I had a pretty girl only for a friend. 

I felt that she and I were there, across a table 

In a kawiarnia, taking wine. 

She says, 

"I don't read the papers, watch television, or think about politics, 

History frightens me, God left me long ago, 

My husband is a Zomo, I want to be happy. " 

Zomo... happy... clubs, water cannons, teargas, 

The " 'secret police, " trained by the KGB. 

They say. 

Her happiness is her son. 

Her green eyes glow with love-, but 

(, He's very difficult, too damn smart. *' 

If there was cold and rain outside, 
Inside there was warmth, liquid melancholoy 
Washing away, like the purifying wine, 
The ubiquitous soot of news. 

Copyrighted by William E. Taylor, 1983. 


"Jobnta" portrays an intimate communication between two friends 
-their thoughts and feelings about what they see going on in the world 
around them: their present, their past, and their future. Reading the poem, 
I feel as though William Taylor has chosen an extremely personal event as a 
model to describe and demonstrate a greater universal concept involving a 
unique characteristic of human nature: Man's capacity to bind time. 1 Time- 
binding is man's capacity to invent and innovate, to see connections not 
previously made between events in the past, present, and future. It is a pro- 
cess by which man and culture evolve. 

This time-binding ability is an integral part of the model of man as a 
semantic transactor: his awareness of interactions and interrelationships 
with his past, present, and future environments. It is the structure which 
molds who we are. J. S. Bois contends that an individual's perception of his 
interactions between the past, present, and future depend upon his own par- 
ticular level of developed awareness in four different dimensions: (1) Think- 
ing; (2) Feeling; (3) Self-moving; and (4) Electro-chemical. 2 

Man shares two of these dimensions with plants and animals: (1) 
Electro-chemical; and (2) Self-moving. Plants react electro-chemically to 
their immediate environment by synthesizing the sun's energy for cellular 
regeneration; animals, too, facilitate this ability, digesting food for energy, 
etc. Animals differ from plants because they have the added capacity for 
self-movement, enabling them to gather food, flee from danger, etc. The 
ability of plants and animals to react in these dimensions is restricted to 
what-is-going-on in their present environment; they show no capacity to 
change patterns of behavior from one generation to another (with a few ex- 
ceptions). 3 To use DeVito's and Keyser's example: A beaver builds a dam 
in much the same way beavers built dams five hundred years ago, and pro- 
bably will five hundred years from now; a bee dances to communicate to 
other bees the specific location of food, but she cannot dance about her 
dance. 4 However, the house a man builds today is not the same as a house 
built a hundred years ago, nor is it the same as a house built a hundred years 
from now. 

To act and react, to invent and innovate on a thinking- feeling level of 
awareness to his present, and his past, and his future environment is a 
capacity unique to man. This characteristic of man to bind-time is an in- 
tegral theme to Taylor's prom. 

Within "Jolanta" we see two individuals reacting to their "present" 
-the stark realities of martial law in Poland, the "past" - the influence of a 
"retired, intellectual father / Who inspired his daughters to look beyond 
the meaning of unmeaning," and Jolanta's hope for the "future"- her son. 
These precious moments -- the sharing of private fears and dreams between 
friends - is the essence of this poem. William Taylor intricately weaves im- 
ages and facts with patterns of thought and feeling as we ride with him on 
our time-journey. 

The setting: 

The little kawiarnia, a cafe in a side street off the Reynek, 

was warm, intimate, a hermitage of courtesy, 

And we were, briefly, safe. 

. . . The deep red wine sparkled like blood 

In its candle-lighted beaker. 


The sweet roll melted like salvation on our tongues, 
And we became transfigured, common humanity. 
...Life started to go on in conversation despite history. 
...I felt that she and I were there, across a table 
In a kawiarnia, taking wine. 

The cafe, the candles, the food, the wine, all create an atmosphere o: 
friendship, pensive thought, and shared intimacies. The mellow melancho 
ly mood becomes more intimate... precious... even ethereal... as Willian 
Taylor speaks of the "blood" and "salvation on our tongues" - a silen 
moment, a communion, a communication between himself and Jolanta. A 
the wine becomes "like blood," so they "became transfigured, commoi 
humanity." Their union becomes a total involvement - a blending o 
spirits - as they seem to transcend time, despite everyday and world pro 
blems. Friendship, time, and age mellow, blend, and grow together: 

Older by a generation, still 

I didn't feel like her father, nor fatherly ~ 

The first time in my life I had a pretty girl only for a friend. 

J. S. Bois describes this special communication as: 

...The encounter of two semantic transactors who hold 
their thoughts, values, attitudes, and purposes, their past 
experiences, their present feelings, and their anticipations 
of the future in sensitive contact... Both see themselves as 
learners in the sense that they are ready to accept the 
lessons of this unrehearsed experience... (and) create a 
stronger bond of reciprical appreciation and trust. 5 

Their combined knowledge of generations past and dreams for the futur 
create not an additive more, but a structural more ~ a geometrically increas 
ed awareness of their transactions with the world around them. 

However, beyond the walls of the kawiarnia, their present reality i 
dark, oppresive, and violent. 

Out of the cold drizzle of fear and uncertainty, 

The present slipping under our feet, 

Breathing the doom hanging over Krakow 

From the steel complex, Nowa Huta, 

And courage, poison in Polish lungs- 

...She says, 

"I don't read the papers, watch television, or think about 


History frightens me, God left me long ago, 

My husband is a Zomo, I want to be happy. ' : 

Zomo... happy... clubs, water canons, teargas, 

The "secret police, " trained by the KGB. 

They say. 

Their reality is the everpresent existence of the pollution of Polish bodi* 
and souls: the smoke and the soot from the Nowa Huta blanket their worl 


ie "secret police" inflict paranoia, pain, and death among friends and 
amilies. This fear, uncertainty, and doom only make the salvation inside 
le kawiarnia that much more precious. 

But life, in its infinite complexity, goes on and is ever-changing. Jolan- 
i speaks of her father who inspired her to explore the unknown, to look at 
fe differently, and to see beyond the ordinary realities of the present. Con- 
iersation and thought turn from her father to her son: 

Her young son kicking his toys around at midnight 

To prove nothing has priority over self. 

...Her happiness is her son. 

Her green eyes glow with love --, but 

"He's very difficult, too damn smart. " 

le is her hope for tomorrow. There will be conflicts with the militaristic 
ocial party, but his innate ability to invent and innovate, to explore beyond 
he here and now, insures for him a tomorrow different from today. 

Our journey does not reach an end. In "Jolanta" William Taylor 
ecreates an extremely personal event which, for those traveling with him, 
>ecomes a fresh learning experience and a part of the process of discovery 
ind insight into ourselves and the world around us. 

So, from time to time, may we too find a "warm, intimate hermitage 
)f courtesy" and be briefly safe to feel and think freely about lessons of 
ignificant value from past generation, see objectively the realities of our 
>resent, and dream and plan for the promise of a better tomorrow. 


1 J. Samuel Bois, The Art of Awareness: A Textbook on General 
Semantics and Epistemics (Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Company 
Publishers, 3rd ed., 1978), pp. 121-123. Bois further explains "time- 
Dinding": "According to the dictionary, 'to bind,' means among other 
:hings 'to cause to cohere,' or to bring things together and to make out of 
:hem a compound that becomes a new thing, a new unit, of which the 
original units, previously differentiated, are blended and homogenized, 
:hereby reaching a new level of energy, a new order of existence (and a new 
evel of awareness)... Time, in this context does not refer so much to calen- 
iar time as to the number of productive past generations whose products 
ire parts or necessary conditions of what is done in the present." 


2 Bois, pp. 28-29. 

3 Bois, pp. 122-123. 

4 Keyser, "Korzybski's Concept of Man," in Manhood of Humanity 
ed. Alfred Korzybski (Lakeville, Conn.: International Non-Aristotelu 
Library, 1950), p. 316; and Joseph A. DeVito, General Semantics: Guii 
and Workbook (Deland, Fla.: Everett/Edwards, Inc., rev. ed. 1974), p.l, 

5 Bois, p. 179. 




Frantic pace terminates 

Industrious hours evident; 

Now printer's ink fixes precise 

Immeasurable talents of the erudite: 

Symmetry reflections now unchangeable. 

Mary Alsten Johnson 





volume two 
Spring, 1985 


Vicki Hill 
Margaret Brockland 


Mary Alsten Johnson 


Peter H. Clonts 
Michael J. A I wan 


Dr. Richard Raymond 

Armstrong State College 
A Unit of the University System of Georgia 


This edition of Calliope could not have been possible without the help 
of several ASC students and faculty members, including Dr. Robert 
Strozier, Mr. Richard Nordquist, Mary Johnson, Peter Clonts, and Michael 
Alwan. Our thanks go to each of them for their patience and assistance. 
We especially appreciate the support of our Faculty Advisor, Dr. Richard 

Because of the precedents established by the 1984 edition of Calliope, 
we were challenged to produce an outstanding magazine, and the fine quali- 
ty of writing and artwork submitted for consideration this year made the 
task a relatively easy one, the hardest part being deciding what had to be left 
out due to space limitations. We encourage all of the artists who supported 
this edition and all of the other students, faculty, and staff of Armstrong to 
help with future editions of Calliope as writers, artists, editors, advisors, 
and readers. The 1985 edition of Calliope has been a pleasure to put 
together and a great opportunity for gaining valuable experience in editing, 
layout, and management of time, space, and funds. 

We gratefully acknowledge the generous contribution of the Lillian 
Spencer and Frank W. Spencer Foundation which made the award for the 
best submission to Calliope possible. 

This edition of Calliope is dedicated to Dr. Hugh Pendexter, and Miss 
Lorraine Anchors for their continuing support of Armstrong State College, 
and to the alumni of Armstrong in recognition of the college's fiftieth an- 
niversary celebration this year. 

Photo on previous pages by Liz Bailey 
4, Calliope 




L. Babits 



Shyla Nambiar 



Trusan Ponder 



Trusan Ponder 





Beth Madison 


) > 



Anna Crowe Dewart 



Darla Ratcliff 

Steve Ealy Calliope, 5 

R. A.I.N 




/. Thomas Maddox 



Andrew Lopez 



J. Thomas Maddox 

Catherine Mulvihill 



Jeffery Smith 



Sandra Crapse 



Margaret Brockland 



Laura Kinzie 

6, Calliope 



V. Seeger 



Jerry Williams 




Anna Crowe Dewart 



V. Seeger 



Flo Powell 

Brian Poythress 



Margaret Brockland 

Lynn Nerrin 



Vicki Hill 


Lynn Nerrin 

Calliope, 7 

8, Calliope 


Painting by Mary A is ten Johnson 


Calliope, 9 

10, Calliope 


He's callin' boy, 

don' wait 'roun'. 

That's the big boss foreman 

an' he's a standing there waiting. 

He wants you now babe. 

He's the headman wrangler 

and he's definitely put the word on down. 

So drop what you're doin', 

it's time to split. 

When the first cook is callin' 

it is no time to be late. 

The Chief Sitting Bull Custer Hating Redman 

wants u all there; 

for that last Little Big Horn, 

amongst spears and arrows, 

carbine bullets and stampeding horses. 

It is no time to wait. 

Git movin'! Don't WAIT. 

Everyone knows when his time's here 

and when yours comes, 


Just race it to the death. 

L. Babits 

Calliope, 11 


Shyla Nambiar 

Rosetti's sonnet, "Ardour and Memory, " centers on a reconciliation 
of life and death. Both states are found to be inherent in each other and to 
form a cycle which recurs eternally. Though the natural phenomena 
described in the poem are marked by transitoriness, they acquire per- 
manence by belonging to a process characterized by recurrence and con- 
tinuity. In human beings, the passionate state and the mental faculty of 
memory reflect the theme of permanence in ephemerality and the close in- 
terconnection between life and death emphasized through the poem's lush 

The choice of the Petrarchan form for this sonnet is appropriate 
because the form elicits, through its structure, a response analogous to some 
of the poem's themes. A Petrarchan sonnet is composed of an octave, a 
turn, and a sestet. The octave in this sonnet consists of an uninterrupted 
flow of images referring to sexuality and life, and the accumulation of these 
images builds a steady sense of pressure. The intensity is released at the turn 
as the speaker explains that the occurences in the natural world cataloged 
are what "ardour loves, and memory"(line 9). An anti-climax then takes 
place in the sestet which allows the speaker to reach a philosophical resolu- 
tion to the problem of life and loss. The progression from pressure to 
release and anti-climax intrinsic in the Petrarchan form is similar to the 
stages undergone during an emotional experience or a sexual encounter. 

Certain devices that also render themes concrete are personification 
and the use of elongated vowels. Personifying natural elements reinforces 
the sense of life and motion stressed in the octave. The cuckoo-throb is call- 
ed "the heart-beat of the Spring"(line 1), "summer clouds... visit every 
wing"(line 4), and streams of light are "furtive" and "flickering" (line 6). 
The majority of vowels in the sonnet are long and drawn-out, supporting 
through sound a slowness, sensuousness, and luxuriance that accord with 
the richness and fertility of Nature. 

Sexuality and fertility, from which life is derived, are represented by 
color imagery, specifically references to red. The rosebud's blush (line 2), 
the fires of sunrise and sunset (line 5), and the flush of ruddiness (line 13) 
are all shades of red, and they connote passion, warmth, and sexuality, as 
does the reference to the "lusts" of the morning (line 7). Birth, life's begin- 
ning, is signified through Spring and the morning when light (another sym- 
bol of life) is "re-born"(line 6). The speaker sees Nature as a continuous 
cycle of birth, maturity, and death. The cuckoo-throb and the heartbeat are 
rhythmic sounds suggesting pattern. The seasons mentioned in the poem 
also represent a rhythm. The poem begins with spring, a time of renewal 
and the awakening of new life. It then proceeds to summer, a season of 
maturity, in line four. Though no season is mentioned in the sestet, the 
absence of the rose flower hints at autumn and the coming of winter. The 
ceaseless pattern present in seasonal and daily change is stressed through the 

72, Calliope 

imagery of music. The cuckoo's throb (line 1), the birdsongs (line 8), and 
the ditties and dirges (line 14) reflect rhythm and pattern, which music is 
dependent on. 

Though the imagery of the octave expresses life, ardor, and vitality, the 
death that is naturally concomitant with them is also suggested. As the 
rosebud matures into the full-grown flower that it must, it loses the blush of 
youth and vibrancy. The summer clouds that touch objects with the colors 
of the sunrise also touch them with those of sunset, implying that life and 
death are rooted in the same source. The interrelationship that exists bet- 
ween the two states is even found in the ambiguous use of the word "flicker- 
ing." Flickering can mean a coming into being - a flickering into life - or 
an extinguishing of it ~ the flickering out of life. Words and images per- 
taining to death prefigure the loss made explicit in the sestet, where that loss 
is expressed through references to flight. All joys are "flown"(line 9) and 
the wind "swoops onward brandishing the light"(line 9) through the forest 
boughs that are dark (a shade symbolic of death). However, though these 
images accentuate death, the speaker affirms life again by asserting that 
"Even yet the rose-tree's verdure left alone/ Will flush all ruddy though the 
rose be gone" (lines 13-14). These lines explain the idea of central impor- 
tance in the poem and link two main threads running through it. 

Underlying "Ardour and Memory" is a perception of life and death as 
being inextricably bound together. It appears in the physical world as a 
continuous rhythmic cycle in which living creatures undergo the cycle of 
birth and death. The process is circular and, as expressed in lines thirteen 
and fourteen, death leaves incipient life in its wake, by which the cycle will 
begin again. The seasons will recur. The sun will rise, pass through the sky, 
set, and rise again; the rosebud will bloom, die, and be reborn next spring. 
A larger state of immutability serves as a basis for transcience and apparent 

Ardor and memory are human states that counterpart nature's life cy- 
cle. Ardor is great intensity of emotion or desire, an immediate and vital ex- 
perience destined to evanescence. However, the power of memory 
establishes permanence to the intense moment by means of the mind's abili- 
ty to recollect past experiences. Though the moment is gone forever, it can 
be "re-lived" and the recollection functions as compensation. As the innate 
quality of an intense experience is transcience, so the innate quality of 
memory is permanence. The speaker equates ardor with life, passion, and 
pleasure. Memory, though it takes a form of life through the power of 
recollection, is similar to death in that it requires distance from the im- 
mediate experience. Therefore, memory reconciles life and death. 

Calliope, 13 


/ was thinking back to my high school days, 

And how nursing had entered my mind. 

I thought of the caps and the treatment trays, 

And the letters "R.N." I would sign. 

I thought of the uniforms white as could be, 

And the pin with the letters engraved. 

Yet, how could I know or how could I see, 

That Nursing's a road that you pave. 

It's not your name, it's not your looks, 

Or your voice or your hair or your eyes. 

It isn't just marks, it isn't just books, 

Or the early hour that you rise. 

It's the smile that a patient had when you're done, 

It's the "thank-you" that he gives you for his life. 

It's the cry of the newborn as he becomes one 

Of this great new world and its strife. 

It's the mother whose family awaits her return, 

Or the father who's too young to die. 

It's the big and the little things that you learn, 

It's the many times you ask why?" 

It's not the cap but the head underneath, 

That makes the Nurse what she is. 

It's not the colored band or the high honored seat, 

It's the heart that goes with all this. 

Trusan Ponder 


Trusan Ponder 

I can vividly remember those tender years of my early childhood: I was 
the youngest and least attractive of six siblings. My mother wasted no af- 
fection on me; rather, she showed me hardship and humiliation. Particular- 
ly, I recall my first day of elementary school; in fact, it shall remain etched 
in my mind for the duration of my life. I skipped hurriedly home with my 
bright red apple, which I had finger painted with water colors. Beaming 
with pride, unaware that I had streaks of red paint down the front of my 
dress, I handed the picture to my mother. Anticipating her delight, I was 
not prepared for what happened, for instead of joy, she shrieked as if in 
distress. "Why did you mess up that dress? You are so stupid!" she 
screamed. I wheeled and ran to my backyard treehouse, where I could still 
hear her hollering, "Come back here or I'll tan your hide good!" Needless 
to say, I stayed up there whimpering until way past dark; in the meantime, 
I'd missed supper and subsequently was sent to bed without it. 

14, Calliope 

By the time I'd reached age sixteen my brothers and sisters had all left 
home. My mother dominated me; she told me what to do and what friends 
to see. Smirking, as she often did, she said, "One day you'll thank me for 
doing this." 

At age nineteen I knew I had to leave home. Confronting her one day, 
I screamed through trembling lips, fighting back tears, "You don't love me 
and you never will. All those years when I was a little girl you never hugged 
me when I cried or patted me when I did something good. I can't live here 
anymore; I have to leave." At that moment, I could hear the pounding of 
my own heart. It took every ounce of gumption I ever possessed to utter 
those words to my mother, who stood there speechless. Suddenly she look- 
ed so lost and alone. With her hair tied back in a bun, I hadn't realized how 
grey it had gotten around the temples. I noticed the deep lines across her 
brow and the deep circles under her eyes, where a tear ran silently down her 
cheek; she didn't bother to brush it away. She had on the green "over the 
shoulder" apron I'd given her for Christmas four years ago; it was faded 
almost white now, and I noticed two small gravy stains on the left pocket. 
"I love you child," were her only words -- words I'd never heard her say 
before. She said nothing more, so I left the following day, and she didn't 
try to stop me. 

The years passed quickly while I was away. I got married and had a 
family whom I lost in a tragic automobile accident. I returned to my 
mother's home only because I had nowhere else to go; surprisingly, she 
welcomed me with open arms. We embraced for a long time, tears flowing 
freely; at that moment, all the old feelings of bitterness and resentment 
vanished, and I loved her more than I'd ever realized I could. Suddenly she 
released me, fell to her knees while hugging my legs and lifted her eyes to the 
sky, face shining with tears, and muttered, "Thank you for sending my 
child back home to me. I'll never drive her away again." I helped her to 
her feet, which were bound up in orthopedic shoes. She was an old lady 
now, tired and work-worn; the years had taken their toll on her. She needed 
me now, and I vowed that I'd be there to take care of her through her tender 
years. I had to go through mine alone. 

The tender years are the times in a person's life he is most vulnerable, 
the times when loved ones are needed the most and the times when having a 
strong shoulder to lean on is essential. These years are not only in 
childhood, but in adulthood as well. My tender years, when I was growing 
up, were most difficult; I felt so alone all the time. But with the care of a 
loving husband, even for so short a time, I was able to put my true feelings 
for my mother in perspective. I realized she did what she thought was right; 
she did the best she could, and that's all we have a right to ask of anyone. 
We now speak openly and freely about those years; she has regrets, but I 
don't have any hard feelings. 

H * <- 

Calliope, 15 



Beth Madison 

Like Mark Twain himself, the function of the title characters in first 
Tom Sawyer and then later (and to a greater degree) in Huckleberry Finn is 
a study in paradox. The books share a subject -- the anatomy of boyhood - 
and a deep dedication to the realistic and believable. In this, Twain is a 
more deeply hued and developed descendant of the "local color' ' 
brotherhood. However, the study of boyhood is shaded into a deeper cur- 
rent of symbolic duality which anticipates the moral dilemmas of 
adulthood. This duality is present within each book (in varying doses) and 
between the books, as well, and is founded upon and enhanced by that strict 
attention to the literal characteristic of Twain. Twain fairly trumpets the in- 
tense care given to this literal * 'backbone' ' to his message when he pro- 
claims that he has painstakingly used no less than seven Mississippi River 
area dialects in Huckleberry Finn.' Such attention makes the symbolic 
dimension of Twain's characters even more striking in that they are real 
people and not pasteboard figures. 

However, the character of and the extent to which this foundation 
realism leads into the symbolic are the basic points of difference between 
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Both books are remarkable in their 
veracity as to the real life of "the boy" in the nineteenth century. Lionel 
Trilling declares that "one element in the greatness of Huckleberry Finn... 
and Tom Sawyer is that they succeed first as boy's books." 2 The freshness 
of the portrait is especially striking in comparison with contemporary 
counterparts such as the effete Little Lord Fauntleroy of Frances Hodgson 
Burnett and the stereotypical "Bad Boys" which were familiar figures in 
scolding Sunday School tracts and were further popularized by Thomas 
Bailey Aldrich's 1870 book (The Story of a Bad Boy).* Twain's boys are liv- 
ing, breathing creatures of the species. Yet, this realism does differ in its 
distance and point of view. Herein lies the crucial parting between Tom 
Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. In this parting, one finds the reason why 
symbolism is so pervasive in Huckleberry Finn and not in Tom Sawyer, 
although characters are defined and pushed in their respective directions in 
the earlier book. 

However, Twain denied that even Tom Sawyer was intended as a boy's 
book. He tells his friend and editor, William Dean Howells, that "it is not a 
boy's book at all. It will only be read by adults. It is only written for 
adults."* This judgement proved wrong as the realism and humour proved 
a magnet for boys, and Howells convinced Twain to market the book 
towards the young audience. Yet, Twain's evaluation is correct in that Tom 
Sawyer is certainly adult in its point of view and distance. It is a third per- 
son re-telling of accurately remembered aspects of boyhood. T.S. Eliot 
comments that its viewpoint resembles "the adult observing the boy... Tom 
is... very much the boy that Mark Twain had been; he is remembered and 
described as he seemed to his elders, rather than created."' Twain himself 
16, Calliope 

remarks in the preface to Tom Sawyer that "part of my plan has been to 
pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves"(Clemens, An- 
notated Huckleberry Finn, p. 25). Characteristically, the memories of the 
adult stifle the gloomy and allow the rosier and more idyllic facets of that 
remembered boyhood to flower. This position is possible because Tom 
Sawyer confines itself to a childhood world and deals only in a small part 
with adult issues (Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Finn, p. 29). Twain 
summarized the nostalgic aura which surrounds Tom Sawyer: 

Schoolboy days are not happier than the days of 
after-life, but we look upon them regretfully because 
we have forgotten... all the sorrows and privations of 
that canonized epoch and remember only its orchard 
robberies, its wooden sword pageants and its fishing 

In contrast, Huckleberry Finn takes up those aspects of boyhood which 
only too grimly and inexorably foreshadow the moral perplexities of the 
adult life. The novel is couched in the first person which conveys an imme- 
diency and lack of romanticism which involves the reader as a character 
rather than as an observer. The personal expression available through first 
person provides an empathy and a sense of the boy's thoughts as he is think- 
ing them rather than merely the structural framework of that boy's world as 
in Tom Sawyer. This particular quality is startlingly apparent when descrip- 
tions of sunrises from both Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are com- 
pared. Tom Sawyer's point of view induces a literary, imposed impression 
whilst Huckleberry Finn is the sunrise through the boy's own vernacular. 
For example, in Tom Sawyer "a grey squirrel and a big fellow of the fox 
kind came slurrying along sitting up at intervals to inspect and chatter at 
the boys." In Huckleberry Finn, a similar aspect of the sunrise scene is dealt 
with in this way: "a couple of squirrels sat on a limb and jabbered at me 
very friendly"(Blair, p. 74). 

This plain, unadorned prose in Huckleberry Finn is a fitting accom- 
paniment to its tone and harsher issues. Doc Robertson's murder and Injun 
Joe's horrible death through starvation are certainly evidence of ugly adult 
realities, but these events have the almost comforting quality of the 
melodrama in that Injun Joe is clearly all bad against good as represented 
by Tom and the society. There is none of the uneasy ambivalence of such 
characters as the Duke and the King or the "chivalrous" Granger fords 
here. Tom's life is that of the black and white adventure and the 
mischievous rebellion against Aunt Polly's authority through pranks such 
as dosing the case with the hated painkiller. But, the Tightness of the 
general standards is questioned neither by Tom nor Twain (Blair, p. 75). 
Despite his boyish unruliness, Tom is "wholly a social being" who has "an 
environment into which he fits"(Eliot, p. 329). The movement of Tom 
Sawyer carries from childish revolt to a "triumphant confirmation of 
Tom's membership in the cult of the respectable."' Huck accepts these 
standards in Tom Sawyer though they make him uncomfortable and vows 
that he "will stick to the widder till I rot,"' if he can then join Tom's gang. 
Still, Huck is a social outcast and, thus, is free from the bonds of conven- 
tion that confine Tom. Huck "did not have to go to school or church, or 

Calliope, 17 

call any being master or obey anybody... he never had to wash or put c 
clean clothes"(Clemens, Tom Sawyer, p. 62). Townsfolk comment th 
"Huck Finn ain't a name to open many doors, I judge! "(Clemens, To 
Sawyer, p. 233). But, this societal censure gives Huck the freedom ai 
potential to examine society, if innocently, in a manner that Tom nev 
could with his hampering role in society and overweening imaginatk 
(Eliot, p.329). 

In other words, in Tom Sawyer the potential for symbol is laid, but n 
developed. There is no need for it in the type of book that Tom Sawyer i: 
The use of Huck as the major character in Twain's ' 'sequel" to To 
Sawyer is surely indicative of Twain's realization that Huck could tack 
issues through his pragmatism and position outside society in a way deni< 
to Tom, the very product of civilization. Twain says frankly that if he toe 
Tom on into manhood "he would just lie like all the one-horse men 
literature and the reader would develop a hearty contempt fi 
him"(Clemens, Letters, p. 86). Tom is clearly already possessed by tl 
dreadful "Walter Scott disease "(Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Fin 
p. 139) which had (according to Twain) taken hold of the nineteenth centu 
imagination - particularly that of the "Old South" variety. Huck, on t 
other hand, possesses an uninfiltrated consciousness and pragmatism th 
demand a kindness and logic which have been milked out of civilizatior 
He can watch the punishment of the Duke and King which can certainly 
justified and yet comment that he was "sorry for them poor, pitif 
rascals... human beings can be awful cruel to one another"(Clemer 
Huckleberry Finn, p. 182). 

This basic "romantic-realistic quarrel"' is meat for Twain's artisi 
palate because this dichotomy is illustrated best in Twain himself. T 
romantic, exalted Tom in him sees man as a subject for humour and mer 
ment and dwells upon the boyhood dreams which rolled along with t 
Mississippi's currents. He is, then, "Tom Sawyer grown-up" in some wa) 
and the appeal of the beacons of success, applause, and universal approv 
is expressed in his donning of the role of popular "humourist and ev 
clown"(Eliot, p. 330). As Huck says: "Tom had his store clothes on, ai 
an audience -and that was always nuts for Tom Sawyer"(Clemer 
Huckleberry Finn, p. 179). This sentimental and romantic side of Twa 
produced the imaginative veil which built Tom Sawyer and gloried in "c 
cuses, revival meetings, minstrel shows... and patriotic holidays celebrat 
with spread-eagle speeches."" 

However, Twain's Tom lacks autonomy because of the Huck that al 
dwells in Twain. This Huck sees past life's glittering veneer and perceiv 
the evil and heart-soreness of human existence. He possesses the roma 
ticism of Thoreau rather than that of Scott. He looks not at the laws, but 
their effectiveness and their capacity for good. He, thus, bypasses mindle 
attention to tradition through his role as observer and outcast. Twain 
Huck could not forget the dark intrusions of adulthood that shadowed 1 
boyhood and embittered him in later adult life into skepticism and criticis 
of social institutions. Such experiences in Huckleberry Finn as t 
Sherburn-Boggs duel, the lynching and hunting down of runaway slav< 
and such seamy characters as the town drunkard, Pap Finn (known 
Hanibal, Twain's hometown, as Jimmy Finn) were based upon Twaii 
darker memories (Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Finn, p. 56). 

18, Calliope 

As a base for Huckleberry Finn's sequences, Twain saw or heard of, in 
his boyhood, "practical jokes brutal enough to unhinge their victims, in- 
sanity, the beaten lives of squatters and derelicts, hangings, drownings, 
rapes, lynchings, terminal alcoholism and murders" (Kaplan, p. 24). All of 
this grimness occurred in the passage of a childhood in that same sleepy 
town of Hannibal which had smiled so benevolently on Tom Sawyer as the 
town of Saint Petersburg in Tom Sawyer. This dichotomy of outlook and 
experience affected the course of Twain's art and is a major source of 
dynamic tension in Huckleberry Finn. Twain's writing may, thus, be seen 
as an indulging and then fighting back of the idealistic-romantic impulse. 

As has been hinted, this impulse is fed by forcing the idealism of 
"bookishness" into life rather than the true moral character of life into 
books. All of Tom's pirate, detective, and "blood and thunder" reading is 
used as fodder for the vat of Tom's imagination (Clemens, Annotated 
Huckleberry Finn, p. 28). But, Twain heaps the most scorn and attributes 
the most damage to those books with pretensions such as those by Sir 
Walter Scott, James Fennimore Cooper, Cervantes, and The Arabian 
Nights. Twain's essay lambasting the general illogicality and pure bad 
writing demonstrated by Cooper is well-known. In Huckleberry Finn, he 
gives Tom that old "Cooper Indian" trick of betraying himself by stepping 
on a dry twig (Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Finn, p. 62). The Walter 
Scott symbolically founders as a steamboat revealing Twain's disgust with 
that author who "set the world in love with dreams and phantoms... with 
the silliness and emptinesses, sham grandeurs, sham gauds, and sham 
chivalries of a brainless and worthless long-vanished society" (Clemens, 
Annotated Huckleberry Finn, p. 1 39). As Twain complained when trapped 
in a sick-bed with Scott: "It is impossible to feel an interest in these 
bloodless shams, these milk and water humbugs" (Clemens, Letters, p. 
276). For Twain, Scott is the bombastic father of the Colonel Granger- 
fords and Tom Sawyers. 

Similarly the deluded Don Quixote is invoked by Tom's ambuscade of 
a Sunday School picnic which he paints up to historical chronicle propor- 
tions. Also, Tom's relationship to Huck in Huckleberry Finn (and Tom 
Sawyer to some degree) echoes that of Don Quixote and the matter-of-fact 
Sancho Panza who is more concerned with dinner than derring-do. In just 
such a way, Tom exhorts the dubious Huck to rub an old tin lamp for genie- 
conjuring purposes, in a reference to The Arabian Nights (Clemens, An- 
notated Huckleberry Finn, p. 73-74). 

If Tom uses these literary opiates to cope with the moral issues of life 
such as slavery, Huck as "the most solitary figure in fiction"(Eliot, p. 329) 
has to come up with his own fresh perceptions separated as he is from socie- 
ty. Huck can only judge things from common sense and experience. He 
may take the role of Tom or Miss Watson in "educating" Jim about kings 
or the French language, but Huck never lets this artificial role carry on from 
talk into action. When he has to do something, he simply does whatever has 
to be done in order to do it. When he sees that his patronizing and superior 
attitude toward Jim is cruel and harmful, he goes against the whole society 
and "humbles himself to a nigger "(Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Finn, 
pp. 150-152). When he lies, he does so in order to save himself or Jim from 
very real danger in contrast to Tom who keeps back his knowledge of Jim's 
free status in order to satisfy his craving for a liberation-adventure. When 
Tom exclaims that he wanted "the adventure of it" and would have "wad- 

Calliope, 19 

ed neck-deep in blood to" get it (Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Finn, p. 
226) his lie seems to be an incredibly vicious playing with the freedom that 
Huck and Jim have struggled so desperately (physically and psychological- 
ly) to gain." 

It is quite true that Huck's natural tendencies lie toward pleasure, the 
easy and uncomplicated escape from conscience, and a general antipathy 
toward cruelty rather than toward the development of a genuine Northern 
abolitionist conscience, as the critic, James M. Cox, points out. > Huck ex- 
hibits these qualities when he shows his repulsion at the extreme punishment 
of the confidence-men and the final battle of the feud. "It made me so sick 
I most fell out of the tree," he confesses about his witnessing of Buck 
Grangerford's death (Clemens, Huckleberry Finn, p. 94). 

However, it is the very turning from such society-sanctioned 
viciousness that points to the good, untainted heart which, eventually, 
allows Huck to reject the machinery of that cruelty in his declaration, "All 
right, then, I'll go to hell!" (Clemens, Huckleberry Finn, p. 69) which is 
essentially a moral decision despite his passionate wish for no conscience. 
Cox portrays this statement as a betrayal and return to the moral 
framework of society from the natural pleasure principle; but truly this 
statement can certainly be more likely viewed as the product of Huck's turn- 
ing from cruelty rather than the reversal of it (Cox, "Uncomfortable En- 
ding," pp. 355-356). 

This discussion of the symbolic nature and development of Tom and 
Huck leads, inevitably, to a consideration of the controversial ending of 
Huckleberry Finn, in which this symbolic dichotomy comes to an uncom- 
forting climax. This ending has aroused a veritable flood of critical opi- 
nions ranging from full or qualified approval to a dissatisfied disapproval. 
Much is said here about the disharmony in tone resulting from Tom taking 
center stage here which moves the stylistic quality away from the tumultous, 
yet lyrical, sun-dappled days on the river which form the book's mid- 
section. The adult concerns of the journey are suddenly turned over to a 
child. Lionel Trilling explains that this ending is a purposeful device to 
retreat Huck to the background as he is not suited "to the attention and 
glamour which attended a hero at book's end" (Trilling, p. 326) in contrast 
to Tom's flamboyance. Eliot promotes the end as a cyclical reorientation to 
the mood of the Tom Sawyerish beginning (Eliot, p. 334). 

However, a great many critics have severely criticised the end. Hem- 
ingway despised the section and advised that the reader "must stop where 
Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just 
cheating" (Clemens, Annotated Huckleberry Finn, p. 48). Leo Marx 
chides Eliot and Trilling and charges Twain with insufficient courage in 
dealing with the ill-fated end of a doomed search for freedom in a basically 
chained society." Yet, after study of the symbolic characterization of Tom 
and Huck in Huckleberry Finn, the most plausible view of the ending lies in 
an expansion of this symbolic dimension. Thomas Arthur Gullason, Roy 
Harvey Pearce and Judith Fetterley (the last two in detail) support this basic 
thesis. In this scheme, Tom's reappearance at the Phelpes' farm after 
Huck's crucial moral statement is a foil device which underlines the com- 
plete condemnation of society's "sivilized" ways and results in Huck's final 
intention to "light out ahead of the rest."- Tom's appearance at the begin- 
ning of Huckleberry Finn is in keeping with the foolish idealism so strongly 
debunked in the end, but the implications and consequences of his behavior 

20, Calliope 

take on a new light in the closing section. These serious consequences of 
romanticism are tied in with the general themes of man's inhumanity to 
man and the affirmation of Jim's human worth (he saves Tom despite 
Tom's treatment of him)(Gullason, p. 87). 

How does Tom's behavior differ so radically here from his youthful hi- 
jinks in the beginning? Well, Tom's actions in the first portion may finally 
become too far-fetched and unsatisfying for his gang (they disband), but 
these actions never seriously harm anyone and they do not tamper with so 
serious an issue as the freedom of a man (Gullason, pp. 89-90). As Judith 
Fetterley points out, there is a great deal of difference between giving a sob- 
bing youngster a nickel to keep quiet about imaginary robbery plans and 
reimbursing Jim with forty dollars for his very freedom and peace of mind 
(Fetterley, p. 445). 

The middle matter of the book undertakes this shift from the world of 
childish recklessness into adult problems and problem adults. Huck strug- 
gles with the cornerstones of society and makes his declaration. He is, con- 
sistently, disgusted with the behavior that he sees along the river, but keeps 
a fond vision of Tom and often wonders what Tom would do in a certain 
situation. When he (Huck) and Jim discover the wrecked Walter Scott, 
Huck muses, "Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing? ... 
He'd call it an adventure... and he'd land on that wreck if it was his last 
act... I wish Tom Sawyer was here" (Clemens, Huckleberry Finn, p. 57). 
Of course, Huck has Tom Sawyers all around him; he just has not realized 
this fact. He does not connect the civilized brutes that he encounters with 
an adult extension of the Tom Sawyeresque view of the world. 

Nevertheless, upon retrospect, analogue characters throughout the 
river journey foreshadow the new perspective of the reader on Tom Sawyer 
in the last section. Such characters include Miss Watson, the King and the 
Duke, and especially the Grangerfords. All of these characters use tradition 
and genteel ways to conceal their own native brutality from others. Miss 
Watson, the con men, and Tom accept things because that was the way that 
things were written down, whether in the Bible or in romance novels. The 
con men use literary pretensions (Shakespeare's plays) and noble titles to 
glorify themselves and make money, although they certainly don't delude 
themselves as Tom does. They merely prey on others' stupidity. However, 
it is the Grangerfords' "code of honor" that calls up Tom the most. They 
bow to each other, turn to face the bullets, and pay strict attention to feud 
protocol. Behind this lies black hypocrisy and grim death (Fetterley, pp. 

All through the trip down the Mississippi, these characters' basic bar- 
barity is contrasted with Huck's clear-eyed, if not judgemental, view of 
them. Huck is forced to deal with adult issues and to take a stand. He 
chooses to reject the rules of the society and to follow what seems instinc- 
tively right to him. But he does not yet correlate these adults with their 
germ in Tom Sawyer. So, in the last section when Huck meets his old 
friend, he is glad to turn things over to him. Huck has so much faith in and 
respect for Tom that he is even a bit shocked that "a boy who was respec- 
table and well-brung-up" (Clemens, Huckleberry Finn, p. 184) would buck 
society as he himself is doing. As mature as Huck has become, he never 
dreams that childish silliness lies behind this supposed earnestness and that 
Tom knows that he is setting a freed man free. Thus, the basic static 

Calliope, 21 

character of Tom is set against the dynamic one of Huck and is clearly sym- 
bolic of that society Huck has met along the river. Tom is a child, but 
heretofore he has only dealt with equally childish matters, and his handling 
of the crucial matter of Jim's freedom is horrifying in light of the insights 
given to Huck and the reader in the mid-section (Gullason, pp. 89-90). 

Tom can no longer be seen as a harmless child, but as a very harmful 
potential adult who will be at least as blindly insensitive as "good people" 
like the Phelpes' (Marx, p. 343) and perhaps as dangerous as the murderous 
Grangerfords. Huck argues with Tom's impractical escape plans and 
though he seems to give in, his disillusionment is encapsulated in his avowal 
to "light out" to the Territory before the others. He has thoroughly 
recognized and rejected the hypocrites, such as Tom, who make up the 
civilizing influence (Gullason, p. 90). 

Thus, although the end is, perhaps, overly long and farcical, the view- 
ing of it from the symbolic perspective can give a clue into Twain's pur- 
poses. Twain makes boyhood real, and throws some meaning in there to 
heighten the flavor. The realistic handling of Tom and Huck is what makes 
the reader take the symbolism to heart. In Huckleberry Finn, Twain lays 
bare the hearts of his characters, the soul of society, and his own spirit. 


Samuel Langhorne Clemens, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 
ed. Scully Bradley et al. (New York, London: W.W.Norton and Company, 
1977), p. 2 (hereafter referred to in the text as Huckleberry Finn). 

Samuel L. Clemens, The Annotated Huckleberry Finn, with in- 
troduction, notes, and bibliography by Michael Patrick Hearn (New York: 
Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1981), pp.26-27 (hereafter referred to in the text 
as Annotated Huckleberry Finn). 

Lionel Trilling, "The Greatness of Huckleberry Finn" cited in 
Samuel L. Clemens, Huckleberry Finn (New York, London: W.W.Norton 
and Company, 1977), p. 319 (hereafter referred to in the text as Trilling). 

22, Calliope 

'Samuel L. Clemens, The Selected Letters of Mark Twain, ed. with 
an introduction and commentary by Charles Neider (New York: Harper 
and Row, 1982), p. 86 (hereafter referred to in the text as Letters). 

T.S. Eliot, "An Introduction to Huckleberry Finn ," cited in Samuel 
L. Clemens, Huckleberry Finn (New York, London: W.W.Norton and 
Company, 1977), p. 329 (hereafter referred to in the text as Eliot). 

•Walter Blair, Mark Twain and Huck Finn (Berkeley and Los 
Angeles: University of California Press, 1962), p. 56 (hereafter referred to 
in the text as Blair). 

James M. Cox, "Remarks on the Sad Initiation of Huckleberry 
Finn," cited in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn: Problems in American 
Civilization (Boston: P.C. Heath and Company, 1959), p. 67. 

•Samuel L. Clemens, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (New York: 
The Heritage Reprints, 1936), p. 283 (hereafter referred to in the text as 
Tom Sawyer). 

Thomas Arthur Gullason, "The Fatal Ending of Huckleberry 
Finn," American Literature, XXIX, March 1957, p. 89 (hereafter referred 
to in the text as Gullason). 

Justin Kaplan, Mark Twain and His World (New York: Simon and 
Schuster, 1974), p. 23 (hereafter referred to in the text as Kaplan). 

Judith Fetterley, "Disenchantment: Tom Sawyer in Huckleberry 
Finn" cited in Samuel L. Clemens, Huckleberry Finn (New York, London: 
W.W.Norton and Company, 1977), pp. 442, 445-447 (hereafter referred to 
in the text as Fetterley). 

James M. Cox, "The Uncomfortable Ending of Huckleberry Finn ," 
cited in Samuel L. Clemens, Huckleberry Finn (New York, London: 
W.W.Norton and Company, 1977), pp. 354-355 (hereafter referred to in the 
text as "Uncomfortable Ending"). 

"Leo Marx, "Mr. Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn ," cited in 
Samuel L. Clemens, Huckleberry Finn (New York, London: W.W.Norton 
and Company, 1977), p. 347 (hereafter referred to in the text as Marx). 

•Roy Harvey Pearce, "The End, Yours Truely Huckleberry Finn: 
Postscript," cited in Samuel L. Clemens, Huckleberry Finn (New York, 
London: W.W.Norton and Company, 1977), pp. 361-362. 

Calliope, 23 

Photo by Liz Bailey 


24, Calliope 


Anna Crowe Dewart 

The cellars for storing potatoes lay about the 
desert-turned-farmland like Indian mounds and 
beckoned to a child of four or five with the same 
mysterious offerings. I remember cautiously creep- 
ing down the rutted slope toward the great, wooden 
doors - terrified but unable to stop myself - as if 
some special siren were calling me. I would slip 
through the doors and stand waiting, peering into the 
cold, dark gloom, watching as the form of a great 
curve took shape above me, its arc held in place by 
huge beams straining against the earth. Sometimes I 
had courage enough to edge my way down the sliver 
of sunlight just far enough to make out the sepia- 
gray speckles of potato-heaps held back from the 
black tunnel by enormous staked and slotted boards. 
When I dared, I would take a deep breath of the 
thick, musty, decaying odor before the dark, 
womblike earth-ness of it all compelled me to take 
flight, back into the protecting sunlight. I would lean 
against the doors, hugging their warmth to my back 
and resolve to go much deeper into that vaulted abyss 
of inviting terror — next time. Maybe someday "it" 
would not longer "get" me and I could calmly walk 
away when I wished, perhaps even go all the way 
through, to the other end. 

Calliope, 25 


Listlessly the half-closed eyes watch 

As a thousand yesterdays slowly melt into more and more. 

What does this mean for us, you ask yourselves - 

To you life is just a deadly bore, and the only reality - war. 

But I have plans for my life 

And while in vain you struggle for change, 

I try to stay out of firing range, 

But these days an empty trench is hard to find. 

I battle to save myself 

As a thousand tomorrows trickle down to only a few. 
What does this mean for us, you ask yourselves. 
I only wish you knew. 

Hide in a hole and save yourself trouble 
Is my advice for the day. 
Then when it's all over, climb over the rubble 
And chase the vultures away. 

Darla Ratcliff 

26, Calliope 

Dragons haunt the dreams of saints: 
Smoke and fire curl round their feet 
As they pray to God their is, their ain't, 
And ask for stout heart to forestall retreat. 

Dragons hunt in twilight hours, 
When it's too dark to track them down. 
They search for bones near ivory towers 
Built on the outskirts of small towns. 

Dragons hide in daylight bright, 
They sleep in dank and musty caves, 
They curse the sun that drains their might, 
They dream of days of knights and knaves. 

Dragons wake as evening nears, 

They trim their claws and smooth their scales. 

They flourish on man's inmost fears, 

They live forever in his tales. 

Dragons haunt the dreams of saints, 
They haunt the dreams of sinners too, 
But the dragon that haunts mankind the most 
Is found even in a heart that is true. 

Steve Ealy 

Calliope, 27 


R . Ra . Rai . Rain 

Glittering in the sky 

Like a leaky water faucet carried to infinity 

Like the silence in the night 

Torturing you to a complete fright. 

Rain . Rain . Rain . Rain 
Languages spoken together 
All birds of a feather 
Taking you down there below 
With a tone of silent awe. 

Rain . Rain . Rain . Rain 

Makes you wander about the sky 

To a chilled or naked eye 

To the fields a potent substance 

To us all an unliked fluvience. 

Rain . Rai . Ra . R 

Melancholically I say, rain causes sorrow and dismay 

Rain causes drowsiness and sleep 

Rain can hurt you real deep 

Makes your mind go back in time 

Different places, 1979 

Where my images didn't shine 

Where happiness was not yet mine. 

R. R. R. R .... 

Rain suddenly ends 

In the mountains, in the plains 

Happiness turns into pain 

As I wish for some more R.a.i.n. 


28, Calliope 


A spider slid down over my head 

And spun a web around my bed 

I shouted, "What the heck? 

I'm no bloody insect." 

That you may be, the spider said. 

But your body looked so sweet 

All snug in your bed. 

This sent cold shivers down my spine 

Until finally I realized. 

It was only a Nightmare. 

J. Thomas Maddox 


Seething and smouldering my flesh burns with 

pulsating fire. 

My neck and forehead throb. 

Wounded I stand and scream with 

echoes in my mind: 

Purge me, crush me, rake me like the barren earth. 

The tides of the earth still flow: 

Undulating with waves of shock 

buried deep in the still. 

Grain against Grain 

Stone against stone 

Continent against continent 

I leap up to the sky and flee like an angel on wing, 
until my lungs are pulled tight by the vacuum. 
The silence grows and my limbs freeze numb. 
Then my heart beats aloud as I reach for the stars, 
and a tear like quicksilver rolls down my cheek 

The hand of the sphere wrenches my body 
and I plunge downward 
Through the hot hoary breath of the earth. 
The stars fade away and the earth gapes 
Wide and devours me whole. 

Andrew Lopez 

Calliope, 29 


Like a pair of green suspenders 
The Bridge stretches 
Across the Savannah River. 

Oh, you once wore the top hat and tails 

Displaying the pride 

Of a former Georgia Governor. 

Now you lie 

And sleep in the sun 

Like an old alligator. 

Oh, Sojourners 

Still speak of you, 

As "that Big! Big! Bridge." 

But the local people 

Recall the number of jumpers 

That leap into the muddy waters below. 

Splash! Splash! 


Why do you swallow up 

Memories and lives 

Spitting them out into the Atlantic Ocean? 

Only the sea gulls know 
And they're not telling 
A soul. 

J. Thomas Maddox 

30, Calliope 

NOW I LAY ME. . . 

Catherine Mulvihill 

This work has been selected to receive the Lillian 
Spencer and Frank W. Spencer Foundation A ward 
for best submission to CALLIOPE. 

Sleep. . . I haven't laid my head on a pillow or my body on a bed for 
more than four days now, and to be perfectly honest, I don't think I ever 
will again. And I don't know whom to blame. Perhaps it doesn't matter 
anymore, but if I could throw the guilt on someone or something other than 
my own horrendous imagination, I could somehow justify this. 

I must explain. . . Less than a week ago, the songs of the birds still 
vibrated through my body every morning and shook me from my sleep. 
Less than a week ago I still prided myself on my ability to rise with the sun 
and jump from my bed without any complaints from my joints or my limbs 
or even my mind. And, when night rolled around, I never spent endless 
hours tossing and turning and counting sheep. Once my head hit the pillow 
my eyes closed and my dreams captured my mind. Yet, after last Sunday, 
the birds failed to sing and my dreams failed to conquer the sheep. 

Last Sunday morning, like every weekend morning, started out 
beautifully. As always, I tiptoed out of bed, careful not to wake my wife, 
Jane, and crept downstairs. Then I settled down at the kitchen table with 
my orange juice in one hand ~ I never used to drink coffee - and my paper 
in the other. By the time I finished the sports section, I heard the light 
footsteps of my daughter. Now, I realize that every man believes that his 
daughter is the most perfect little girl in the world, but Jenny is no illusion. 
She has the kind of mischievious smile and kind of startling blue eyes that 
make other fathers turn to stare at us when we walk down the street. You 
can imagine what that does to my ego. 

Anyway, by the time Jenny reached the kitchen I was already crouched 
behind the door. When she entered, I swooped her up in my arms and lifted 
her until her head touched the ceiling. Amid our usual giggles and chuckles 
- Jenny chuckles, I giggle - we set about scrambling eggs and browning 
toast and mixing more orange juice. Then, like every Sunday morning 
before it, we prepared three trays and carried them up to the bedroom. By 
the time we reached the top stair, Jane was already dressing for church. 
Now, we aren't a particularly religious family; in fact, until last Sunday we 
hadn't been ambitious enough to spend our favorite day of the week in star- 
ched clothes among equally starched people. I guess that was my fault, 
though. Jane grew up in a strict Episcopalean home where church was as 
important as work or school or even eating and drinking. But after we mar- 
ried, my "religious laziness" rubbed off on her. I'm not an atheist; Lord 
knows if I were none of this would have happened, and I would be in bed, 
sound asleep, right now. I'm just the "silent" type of parishoner. Church 
and religion are states of mind to me, rather than traditions and customs 
and outward appearances. I don't even pray out loud. My conversations 
with God have always been conversations in my mind ~ as much a "diary to 
myself" as a chat with the Heavenly Father. I've always liked it better that 
way. Until now. Now I wish that I had paid more attention to formalities. . 

Calliope, 31 

But, last Sunday was one of those days when Jane felt guilty for not 
making outward appearances, and my usual suggestions of picnics and 
matinees weren't working. So, when Jenny said that she wanted to "visit 
God too," I pulled my only three-piece suit out of the closet. And of 
course, the sermon was as boring as ever; I covered my bulletin with circles 
and squares and a good likeness of the minister. I envied Jenny as she cried 
goodbye to her teacher -- her arms full of papers and pictures and a "round 
thing with my handprint in it for Mommy to hang on the wall." I prayed, 
silently of course, to spend my next Sunday in church making handprints 
for Mommy's wall. 

Actually, the real problem didn't arise until that night. While Jane 
tucked Jenny into bed, I sat back on the loveseat, popcorn in hand, and 
waited for Star Wars to appear on the screen. Jane and I had seen it five 
times, but I wanted to fool around more than anything else anyway. Sud- 
denly screams of "No, Mommy, I don't want to say it! No, Mommy, I 
won't! No!" interrupted my fantasies. At first I thought that Jenny was 
refusing to go to bed, but as her protests increased, I rushed up the stairs. 
Apparently, Jane, in her new, saintly mood, had decided to teach Jenny a 
bedtime prayer - a lesson that we had neglected up until then. The prayer 
was simple enough - a prayer that Jane insisted every little kid learns. I'd 
never heard it before, but then, as I've told you, I've always avoided tradi- 
tions. And it was a cute little rhyme, at first hearing. 

Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep, 
And if I die before I wake, 
I pray the Lord my soul to take. 

Jenny recited the first two lines perfectly, but when Jane prompted her 
to repeat the rest, she became hysterical. I felt that if Jenny didn't want to 
say the rest, we shouldn't press her, but Jane insisted that Jenny was just be- 
ing stubborn. This is where I could blame everything on Jane. If she had 
just let the matter drop, if she had just let it all alone, if she had not tried to 
make the poor kid explain herself, I wouldn't be trying to explain myself. 
But Jane has one of those "logical minds"; she must have an explanation 
for everything. Unfortunately, I didn't try to stop her logic, and, unfor- 
tunately, Jenny's explanation was far too logical itself. At first I had just 
repeated the rhyme - mimicked it without listening to the words. 

Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep, 
And if I die before I wake, 
I pray the Lord my soul to take. 

But we had always taught Jenny to think before she spoke. 

"But Mommy," she said, "that's like giving God permission to let me 
die. That's like assuming you're gonna die and God might take it wrong. 
Mommv. I don't want to die!" 

32, Calliope 

Jane, unable to hold back her laughter, gave up. Red faced, she told 
Jenny to forget all about it, have pleasant dreams, and not let the bed bugs 
bite - the usual bedtime goodbyes. 

Once downstairs, Jane picked up her bowl of popcorn and snuggled 
close to me on the loveseat. Obviously, she didn't want to watch Star Wars 
a sixth time either. But for some reason I couldn't get that little ditty, that 
stupid rhyme, that damn prayer, out of my head: 

Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep, 
And if I die before I wake, 
I pray the Lord my soul to take. 

For some reason all I could do was stare at Luke Skywalker while I thought, 
saw, and heard that prayer over and over in my mind. Jane either gave up 
trying to penetrate my thoughts, or grew disgusted with me, because I even- 
tually found myself alone, with a full bowl of popcorn in my lap, an empty 
one by my side, and the National Anthem blaring at me from the tube. I've 
grown to hate that song. . . 

Oh say can I lay 
Meeee down to sleep. . . 

I flipped on the hall light and raced up the stairs; the words grew louder 
all the time. When I reached my room and discovered that Jane had pulled 
back my sheets and covers so that I could crawl right in, I felt silly. 
Childish. Pretty ridiculous. I threw on my pajamas, slid into bed, and 
resolved to put the entire night out of my mind. I switched off the light and 
closed my eyes, knowing that I would be asleep in a matter of seconds. 
Thinking that I would be asleep in a matter of seconds. Wishing that I 
could. . . 

Now I lay me down to sleep, 

be asleep in a. . . 

I pray the Lord my soul to keep, 

matter of seconds. . . 

But if I die before I wake, 

It was useless. 

I pray the Lord my soul to take. 

I might have drifted off to sleep, the prayer might have bored me 
enough to make me sleep, yet I began to think about what was actually run- 
ning through my head. I kept reciting a prayer - a prayer to God ~ over 
and over in my mind. And he was listening! I could hear Jenny's voice, 
"No, Mommy, God might take it wrong. No, Mommy, I don't want to 

Calliope, 33 

"No, God," I cried, "please don't listen. This isn't what I want to say 
-- it's just a dumb, stupid, meaningless ditty. It's just. . ." 

I pray the Lord my soul to take. 

I knew it was stupid, it was dumb, it was childish. But I couldn't stop 
mimicking that damn prayer, couldn't stop praying in my head, couldn't 
stop telling God that it was all right to take my soul! 

I spent that entire night too scared to go to sleep and too obsessed to be 
logical (or illogical) about the entire thing. 

The next morning as I dressed for work, Jane rolled her refreshed head 
towards me and asked me how I had slept. I couldn't tell her. I couldn't tell 
her that I spent the entire night staring into blackness and repeating the 
words to a child's prayer over and over in my head. She would have laugh- 
ed, or rolled her eyes, or thought that I had lost my mind. So I told her that 
I had slept peacefully, then went downstairs to fix myself a cup of coffee. I 
drank at least ten cups of the wretched liquid before the day ended. 

But it wasn't until later that night, as Jane tucked Jen into bed, that I 
began "saying" that cursed prayer again. And the more I thought about 
going to sleep, the more I repeated the curse. 

Sleep, now I lay me down to 
Keep, I pray the Lord my soul to 
Wake, and if I die before I 
Take, I pray the Lord my soul to. . . 

Jumbled, mixed-up, any way I though about it, I still gave the Heaven- 
ly Father permission to let me die. It was then that I began to realize that I 
was going to die no matter what. I could only go so long without sleep 
before God, or something, took my soul anyway. 

I pray the Lord my soul to take 

Only so long before I would go to sleep 

Now I lay me down to sleep, 

And never wake up. 

And if I die before I wake, 

I didn't go to sleep that night. Or the next. Or the next. . . I tried 
everything from sleeping pills to nursery rhymes. 

Hickory, dickory, dock, 

The mouse ran up the clock 

And if I die 

Before I wake 

Hickory, dickory, DEAD! 

So here I am. It's now Thursday ~ no, Friday! I think. Five days and 
tour nights since that God-awful Sunday. I couldn't hide my terrors from 

34, Calliope 

Jane. When I first told her my predicament she did exactly what I expected. 
She laughed, then she rolled her eyes, then she told me I was crazy. Finally, 
I began saying the phrases out loud, 

Now I lay me down 
as we were lying in our bed, 

to sleep. I pray the Lord 
or between huge gulps of coffee. 

my soul to keep. And if I die 

Before long I was kneeling at the side of my bed with my hands clasped -my 
eyes staring toward the Heavens! 

before I wake. I pray the Lord 

So Jane packed her bags and took Jenny to a motel. 

my soul to take. 

So now here I sit, alone, counting the days by the number of times the 
National Anthem plays on the tube. My house, which had always been the 
safest, most comfortable place in the world, no longer seems like my house. 
It had been my haven, my resort, my escape from the pressures of the out- 
side world. The ultimate dream — right from its white picket fence, to its 
yellow kitchen curtains, to its velvety red carpet. The walls always vibrated 
with Jenny's soft chuckles, and the air always smelled of roast beef or fresh 
bread or apple pie. Oh, but not now. Now that Jane and Jenny are gone, 
the fence, with its spiked, ivory pickets, confronts me when I step inside the 
gate -- a row of white teeth inviting me to pass through them into the belly 
of their owner. The belly reeks of the yellow bile which covers its openings, 
and I must force myself to sit upon the blood-red surface of its interior. No 
longer does laughter fill the halls and vibrate in my ears. Only the 
methodical words of that damn prayer bounce off the ceiling and the floor 
and echo in my soul. 

Now I lay me . . . 

It's like some horrible nightmare ~ a nightmare that I can never wake up 
from because I never went to sleep in the first place. 

Yes, I am probably blowing this whole affair out of proportion. Yet 
my mind no longer knows the meaning of proportion. Like the endless 
echoing in the air, I'm doomed to stay within this belly, continually bounc- 
ing off the blood-red walls while my mind says to me and to God and to 
anyone who will listen. . . 

Now I lay me down to sleep, 

I pray dear Lord just let me sleep 

And if I die before I sleep 

I pray, I pray, I pray. . .sleep. . . 

™^^"^^^^^^~ Calliope, 35 


Drawing by Mary Howard 

36, Calliope 



Chanteur of the false night, 
Why does my song 
not sing? 

Master of enchanting sounds, 
Are your wings made of magic, 
Your song a sorcerer's speech? 

Oh, what a wretch am I. 
I dare not sing nor fly. 

The prayers for voice and lifting wing 
Have not been answered 
For me. 

I am but a poor man 

With a heart of endless scars. 
Oh, Sparrow, come and sing 
To me. 

I can crawl and walk and run. 
I dare not leave the ground. 
I fly, Bird, only when I sleep. 

Gift of nature, how I wish I were 

Calliope, 37 


Sandra Crapse 

Tennessee William's Amanda is very human in The Glass Menagerie. 
That is, she is inconsistent: she is neither all good nor all bad, but a mixture 
of both. She is thoughtfully tender as well as unintentionally cruel. There is 
much to admire about Amanda while there is a lot laugh at also. She is ad- 
mirable in her tenderness and love for her children. Her love for Tom and 
Laura can arouse our pity because of her inability to understand where or 
how she has failed them. On the other hand, she is ridiculous and laughable 
in her Southern-belle mannerisms and her high expectations for her 
children. Amanda is a paradox. 

Amanda's Southern-belle mannerisms and her high expectations for 
Tom and Laura are both laughable and ridiculous. Amanda lives in 
another time period - the Old South, with all its grandeur. The glorious 
clothes, the great balls, and the gracious manners were all part of the Old 
South, and Amanda remembers only the good times. To her, everything 
was better then. One of Amanda's fantasies about her earlier life occurs 
one night at the table after dinner when she tells Laura to "be the lady this 
time"(scene I, pg. 971). Amanda wants Laura to sit and enjoy her coffee 
while she is waiting for her gentleman callers. In the meantime, says Aman- 
da, "I'll be the darky, "(scene I, pg. 971) and clean up the table and dishes. 
Because Amanda does not want to accept her life the way it is, she fan- 
tasizes about the past constantly. 

If Amanda herself cannot accept her life the way it is and live in the 
present, how can Tom and Laura? They cannot; therefore, they cannot live 
up to her high expectations either. When they see Amanda escape her pro- 
blems by going back to her youthful days, they follow her example, and 
each chooses a safe time period for themselves. Tom leaps to the future, 
thinking of the adventure of being a merchant marine and eventually 
becoming a well-known poet. Laura, because she is crippled, cannot cope 
with business school at the present time, nor can she see a marriage in the 
future. Laura selects a never-never time: neither past, present, or future, 
but a world of glass and reflections. Trapped in the different times, each 
falls victim to illusions and fantasies. 

Amanda can arouse our pity because of her inability to understand 
where or how she has failed her children. She is the instrument in bringing 
Laura and Tom to their desperate situations. She cripples them 
psychologically and inhibits their own quest for maturity and self- 

Since her husband's desertion, Amanda has depended on Tom heavily 
for the support of the family and she wants him to continue to work, at least 
until she can get Laura settled. When looking at Laura's timid personality, 
Tom feels he could be working forever at the shoe factory. He has secretly 
applied to the Merchant Marine, and when Tom's acceptance letter arrives, 
Amanda finds it. Amanda and Tom argue, and Amanda stresses what she 
hoped, she lovingly comforts Laura. Amanda has an aura of "dignity and 
tragic beauty"(scene VII, pg. 1010) in the final scene. 

38, Calliope 

expects of him: "[when] Laura has... married, [with] a home of her own, 
[and is] independent... you'll be free to go... whichever way the wind blows! 
But until that time... Find... some nice young [gentleman caller]... for 
Sister"(scene IV, pg. 983). On Tom's young shoulders, Amanda has placed 
the burdensome responsibility of the family left by the father. She has not 
let Tom discover himself or what he wants in life. By inhibiting him this 
way, she has halted his growth. 

With Laura, Amanda has done the same thing in a different way. 
Amanda wants Laura to have the same kind of life that she did as a young 
girl, the life of a Southern belle who has "seventeen! -- gentleman 
callers! "(scene I, pg. 971). With her unreal expectations, Amanda projects 
her "Blue Mountain" image on Laura instead of letting Laura develop in 
her own way and time. If Amanda had not pushed Laura so hard into 
becoming something that she was not, Laura would not have been so self- 
conscious of her failings; she might have had more of a chance at a normal 
life. Since Laura cannot live up to her mother's expectations, she 
withdraws herself into a world of glass that is only a reflection of the real 

Amanda is admirable in her tenderness and love for her children, 
especially Laura. Amanda (like most mothers) loves her children, and this 
is shown throughout the play. Laura's future is Amanda's top priority and 
concern. She wants Laura to go to business school so that Laura can sup- 
port herself. When Amanda finds that Laura has dropped out of the 
school, Amanda reverts to plan B: marriage. Amanda will be totally happy 
only if she can get Laura settled. She enlists Tom's help for this plan. 
Amanda wants Tom to bring home a gentleman caller for Laura. When 
Tom brings home Jim and the visit does not go as well as Amanda had 

Likewise, with Tom, Amanda's concern is shown in the way she 
mothers him: "don't smoke too much, don't become a drunkard, and 
don't drink hot coffee." Amanda cautions Tom, "that the future becomes 
the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if 
you don't plan for it!"(scene V, pg. 987). She tells him that with a little 
more "get up," he could have "a fairly responsible job" like Jim does 
(scene V, pg. 987). Amanda would like Tom to become a young business 
executive, but she also lets Tom know over and over again how much they 
depend on him; he is the man of the family, and she is proud of his efforts. 

Amanda has a positive attitude about herself nearly all the time, and 
even during the most trying times she has the attitude of "disappointed but 
not discouraged." She depends on Tom and his job a lot, but she does not 
just sit home herself. She has a job selling magazines and "working at 
Famous and Barr" (scene II, pg. 972). Even when Tom and Amanda have 
had an argument and she makes the statement, "My devotion has made me 
a witch and so I make myself hateful to my children! " she comes back with, 
"Try and you will succeed! "(scene IV, pg. 981). 

So while Amanda is ridiculous, she is also respectable. We can identify 
with her because of her mixed nature of both good and bad qualities. Her 
tenderness and love for her children are laudable while her illusions about 
the "Old South" and her expectations for Tom and Laura can awaken our 
pity for her. Amanda is laughable and ridiculous as we all are, and we can 
equate ourselves with her in our own efforts to deal with life and its 
numerous problems. She is truly a paradox as all humans are. We are 
neither all good nor all bad, neither all black nor all white, but shades of 

Citations are found in David Bergman and Daniel Mark Epstein's 
HeathGuide to Literature (Lexington, Mass.: D.C Heath and Co., 1984). 

Calliope, 39 


Half a fortnight ere St. Patrick's Day, 

Fair leprechauns come out for their foreplay. 

Twenty smiling beauties primp and pace - 

Tangled 'midst hair curlers, lipstick, lace. 

The title, "Miss St. Patrick's Day," they crave: 

To ride a float through drunken crowds, and wave. 

A crowd has gathered 'round the stage below; 
Music thunders, wine and whiskey flow. 
Upstairs the ladies polish glassy lips, 
Walk the floor to prime their swaying hips. 
The mirrors on the wall claim all attention, 
Save one young woman's: waiting without tension 
She twists one curl around one slender finger; 
On her the eyes of all the others linger. 

The prize the previous year she nearly grasped, 
But in the final moments her charm lapsed. 
The luck of Erin smiled upon a redhead - 
And only golden tresses fell from her head. 
With vengeance she prepared to try again; 
The year she spent in buffing silky skin. 
Weeks of hunger ate away a pound: 
Fine bones preferred she over cheeks so round. 

And now the startling beauty she was born to, 

Splendor of wild roses under soft dew 

Has been transformed by her to dolly porcelain; 

Flames of fury glow beneath her glass-skin. 

But confidence and ease are all her form breathes: 

Her graceful strut conceals the way her mind seethes. 

She's practiced, prayed, and polished all her charms: 

She sparkles, like the rhinestones on her arms. 

Across the room a girl looks on in shyness, 

Oblivious to the veteran's secret slyness. 

She combs her copper curls with quivering hands •- 

Sparkling rings of auburn, she commands 

Each to its place; they cover her fair shoulders. 

In her eyes two emerald fires smoulder 

A gown of shamrock green completes the picture: 

An Irish lass, but not the judges' pick, sure! 

A pretty girl she is, but no great beauty -- 

Blondie feels the nearness of her booty. 

40, Calliope 

The show begins; the girls all smile and shimmer. 
The audience yowls like cats awaiting dinner. 
Whistles, shouts, name-calling, lude suggestions, 
They rival schoolboys, fresh-free from suppression. 
Here inside the bar - no kids allowed -- 
Second Childhood rules this lively crowd. 
As each fair lady glides across the stage, 
Men reach and grab like monkeys through a cage. 

The golden beauty, ready for the crowd, 
Swaggers across, smiles, assured and proud. 
Gratification envelopes her skin; 
She revels in the tangle and the din. 
Smiling promises flow from her blue eyes, 
Capturing hearts with sweet, unspoken lies. 

The fair-skinned lass follows, stepping lightly; 

Behind her smile, she grits her teeth so tightly. 

And in the end the red hair wins again -- 

An answering crimson colors the veteran's skin. 

Her rage she holds until she is alone; 

The grace which carried her to stage is gone. 

She stumbles upstairs, blind with pain or ire, 

A wiser woman certainly would retire, 

But this one spends her days in spas and salons, 

Eagle-proud, she flexes polished talons. 

Making plans for show again next spring, 

She preens each feather, smooths each ruffled wing. 

And those who cheered her on to harsh defeat 

Find the morning after not so sweet. 

They work and wait for night to take them back -- 

The dog's hair calls them downtown in a pack 

To wake from nightmares of sobriety 

Into their reeling world of revelry. 

Margaret Brockland 

Calliope, 41 


Laura Kinzie 

Time is for us mortals the essence of life. We can be in control of our 
lives and therefore in control of our time, or we can be committed to an 
ideal or belief which we feel merits our time, or we may be people who waste 
time. These are three alternatives for the use of time during our lives. We 
must consider time a precious resource. Once it is gone, it is gone forever 
and will never come again. In the poem, "Ulysses," we see a conqueror 
king who is undoubtedly in complete control of his own life and regrets the 
day he became idle because of his age. This poem is about his desire to 
"drink life to the lees"(1.7, p. 541). He wants to pursue, to continue his 
adventures. In the poem, "After Apple Picking," we see a once hard work- 
ing man, tired and exhausted. He has spent most of his life laboring for "a 
great harvest I myself desired"(l .29, p. 837). The desire for being a lover is 
present in Prufrock, but because of fear and lack of purpose, his time is 
meaningless. By comparing "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" to 
"The Apple Picker" and "Ulysses," we should find evidence of three dif- 
ferent methods of using the irreplaceable commodity of time. 

Ulysses is untouched by time or age, and the apple picker is tired and 
ready to give up his work, but Prufrock's life represents an example of the 
poorest use of time. He is a procrastinator. Prufrock is not bold enough to 
ask a real person to go with him on a journey to an unknown place, so he 
has an imaginary lover come along with him. We soon begin to understand 
this situation as the hell of Prufrock's mind. It is inhabited by shallow, 
superficial people who have no depth, reminding us of the characters in 
Alice in Wonderland. Unlike the rabbit who constantly cries, "I'm late, 
I'm late for a very important date," Prufrock's theme is, "there will be 
time, there will be time"(l .26, p. 792). He wonders: should he or should he 
not dare to ask? Since the title of the poem is "The Love Song of J. Alfred 
Prufrock," we surmise that he is asking for his lover's affections. He is 
never able to fully put his desire into thought patterns. Once again he asks, 
"and should I then presume?/And how should I begin[?]"(1.68, p. 793). 
Prufrock kids himself into believing "there will be time"(1.23, p. 792) for 
all the trivialities of his tedious life. He changes his face or personality to 
please each person he meets. He digresses into indecision even in the 
smallest matters, for he feels he is not important. He spends his time in a 
fantasy world and when confronted by life he will surely drown in a sea of 
his own making. Contrasting the life of Ulysses with that of Prufrock, we 
find two almost opposite extremes. There are no limitations of time with 
Ulysses. He cannot rest from adventure even in his old age. He talks of 
sailing again with his mariners who have shared much of his life, and who 
are now also old. Like Prufrock and Ulysses, the apple picker is old and 
very tired. It is winter, and he has seen his face reflected in the ice from the 
drinking trough. The old, tired man is sleepy, and he lets the ice fall and 
break. He welcomes the rest, and dreams of aooles which are magnified. 

42, Calliope 

They are huge apples which appear and disappear much as the people of his 
life do. Picking these apples makes him weary of "the great harvest I 
myself [desire]"(1.27, 28, 29, p. 837). 

The characters have definite dislikes and feelings regarding death, and 
for Prufrock the feelings fall under one heading -- fear. His fear of being 
ridiculed is stifling. He allows it to cut away his life, and that empty shell of 
a man fears death as much as life. His allusions to John the Baptist and 
Lazarus indicate the irony of Prufrock's situation as he compares himself 
with these holy men who were totally dedicated to God, and who were will- 
ing to die for Him. Prufrock has nothing for which to live or die. Ulysses 
would certainly disagree with Prufrock's philosophy as he can think of 
nothing worse than to pause, or make an end. He compares his inactivity to 
a sword. Not wanting to rust, but to shine in use, he realizes that to breathe 
alone is no indication of life. He thinks it vile to have rested for three days 
while ignoring his desire to follow knowledge. To his mariners Ulysses says, 
"You and I are old;/... death closes all. Some work of noble note may yet 
be done" (1149-51, 52). The last line reflects the truth as seen by Ulysses. 
Time never ceases for him as he invites his friends, saying, "Tis not too late 
to seek a newer world"(157, p. 543). The apple picker is done with his 
work. He is through picking apples although there are indications of work 
to be done: an unfilled barrel, two or three unpicked apples on a bough. 
He regrets those apples which he missed or let fall for they went to the cider- 
apple heap "as of no worth" (1 .38, p. 838). This makes us think of the ap- 
ples lost as those opportunities missed in life, not missed because of pro- 
crastination as with Prufrock, but missed because there is too much for one 
man to do. This will trouble the apple picker. He realizes his human limita- 
tions as he contemplates the sleep which may be very long, another way of 
speaking of his death. 

The purpose in life for each of the three men is reflected by the direc- 
tion in which he travels. Prufrock wants desperately to appear 
sophisticated. He wears all the right colors and still says, "there will be time 
to turn back and descend the stair"(1.39, p. 792). This is a clear indication 
of his lack of confidence in himself. He quickly decides that he should have 
been "a pair of ragged claws/scuttling across the floor of silent seas"(1.73, 
74). This is a comparison similar to Prufrock's direction, which is 
backward like a crab. Not only does Prufrock fantasize the asking of ques- 
tions, but he also interprets the answers of his lover. Suppose she says, 
"that is not what I meant at all"(1.97, 98). This will certainly crush 
Prufrock's desire to appear sophisticated, and can be cited as his purpose in 
life. The purpose of Ulysses is to use his time to seek knowledge. He views 
all "experience as an arch... whose margin fades forever and ever when I 
move"(1.21, p. 542). This has the effect of pointing Ulysses in a forward 
direction. The apple picker in the Robert Frost poem gives us a picture of 
an orchard, well-picked, and a two pointed ladder reaching toward heaven. 
His direction is upward. Time is worn into his instep from the pressure of a 
ladder round. He smells the scent of apples and hears the rumbling sound 
as the loads come in. His purpose in life is to serve others and God by using 
his time to the fullest. 

We have looked at three alternatives for time utilization. We are not 
all endowed with the resources of Ulysses, but we do share the same number 
of hours in each day, along with Prufrock and the apple picker. Most of us 

Calliope, 43 

will probably spend our lives much like the apple picker. We may 
sometimes have bad experiences like Prufrock, or really exciting times as in 
the poem, "Ulysses." However we choose to live our lives, or use our time, 
let us remember that time is a resource and it cannot be renewed. Time is 
the essence of life. 

Citations are found in David Bergman and Daniel Mark Epstein's Heath 
Guide to Literature (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co., 1984). 


Tall graceful grass 
You tickle the skies 
You beat out an ancient 
rhythm with the wind 
You dance without ever moving 

Your song can be heard in the 
Knocking of tropic evening breezes 
The pounding of typhoon winds. 
You drink up the rams 
Shelter, clothe, and feed 

Teacher of Confucius 

How shallow man stands in your shadow. 

V. Seeger 

44, Calliope 


Jerry Williams 

At the end of "The Blue Hotel" by Stephen Crane, one of the main 
characters, the Easterner, states that "every sin is the result of collabora- 
tion"^. 252). This statement is incorrect because of the use of such an ab- 
solute word as every and because of the Swede's exclusion from this col- 
laboration. Such works as "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, "King of the 
Bingo Game" by Ralph Ellison, as well as the previously mentioned short 
story support the statement that "[some] sins [are] the [results] of col- 
laboration." However, neither this statement nor the first statement on sin 
frees the victims from responsibility concerning their own downfalls. 

The Easterner makes his assumptive statement on sin and collaboration 
after admitting that he had seen Johnny cheat the Swede. The Easterner 
feels that if he would have revealed what he saw that evening and defended 
the Swede, then the Swede would not have been killed that night. 

There are several definite problems in the conclusion drawn by the 
Easterner. The first problem exists in the number of men that the Easterner 
holds responsible. The Easterner is very wrong in his allotment of the 
liability in the Swede's death. Not only does the Easterner blame himself 
and the other men at the Palace Hotel on the night of the Swede's death, but 
he also blames them more than the gambler who actually killed the Swede: 

[The gambler] isn't even a noun, He is a kind of 
adverb. this case it seems to be... five men -- [the 
Easterner, the cowboy], Johnny, old Scully; and that 
fool of an unfortunate gambler came merely as a 
culmination, the apex of a human movement, and 
[he] gets all the punishment (p. 252). 

The main problem with this statement exists in the omission of the per- 
son who was most responsible for the death of the Swede, the Swede 
himself. The Swede was responsible for his actions leading up to his death. 
Even if the Easterner would have helped the Swede by confessing to have 
seen Johnny cheat, the Swede probably would have ended up dead on the 
barroom floor anyway. The Easterner's confession or lack of confession 
probably would not have affected the Swede's "mightier than God" at- 
titude and he probably would have reacted the same way. The support of 
the Easterner would probably have had the same effect on the Swede as did 
the drink of liquor that he had before the fight. 

The assertion that the Easterner makes about his responsibility in the 
death of the Swede is incorrect. The Easterner is being too harsh on himself 
and those involved. The Easterner did what he thought was the correct 
thing to do at that time, and he did not know that the evening would end the 

Calliope, 45 

way it did. The distribution of responsibility and guilt is absurd because 
there is no way that they could have known that the Swede would be killed 
after leaving the Palace Hotel that night. 

The Easterner was correct in one aspect, however. The gambler was 
not as guilty in the death of the Swede as someone else was. If one character 
had to be labelled the victim, it would be the gambler. He was directly vic- 
timized by the loud-talking Swede. The Swede himself is made to look like 
as entirely innocent victim. This is completely incorrect. The Swede was 
more responsible than anyone for his own death. 

In "The Lottery," another protagonist is very responsible for her own 
death - Mrs. Jessie Hutchinson. The reason that Mrs. Hutchinson can be 
held so responsible exists in her failure to protest the "game" before it 
started. She only began to protest after she had won, and she then protested 
for all the wrong reasons: "You didn't give him time enough to take any 
paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!" Her action shows her lack of 
thought and her willingness to conform with what everyone else does even if 
it is wrong, as is the lottery. Had Mrs. Hutchinson not drawn the black dot, 
she probably would have been at the front of the crowd and holding the 
largest stone. 

Even though the woman is very wrong for not taking a stand against 
the lottery beforehand, the peruser must still feel some pity for this 
"chosen" woman. She doesn't stand up against her community because the 
community has always resisted change. The result of this lack of change is 
an epidemic of thoughtlessness. Even the box that the lottery slips are 
drawn from is old and "splintered badly along one side to show the original 
wood color, ...but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was 
represented by the black box"(p. 414). The woman's lack of thought, as 
well as everyone else's lack of thought, is caused by the collaboration of at- 
titudes of all the people in the community. All of the people in the com- 
munity victimize themselves by letting the lottery continue. 

A very different example of collaboration and its effect on sin lies in 
the short story by Ralph Ellison, "King of the Bingo Game." The pro- 
tagonist in this story is clearly a victim because he honestly tries to help 
himself. Even though he does attempt to help himself, he fails because of 
the collaboration of society against his race. 

The protagonist tries to help himself by moving out of the rural South 
to the "opportunity- filled" North. The "King" realizes that his attempt to 
escape from his doom that followed him in the South is failing. His wife, 
Laura, is dying and he can not afford a doctor. It is also very obvious that 
he hasn't eaten in a long time: "I'm just broke, 'cause I got no birth cer- 
tificate to get a job, and Laura 'bout to die 'cause we got no money for a 
doctor"(p. 406). This quote also shows that he has tried to get a job and 
can not because he has no birth certificate. It is as if the world is col- 
laborating against him. Because of this collaboration, the man is forced to 
play a game of chance to try and win money. The protagonist is truly vic- 

The King dreams of 

walking along a railroad trestle down South, and 
seeing the train coming, and running back as fast as 

46, Calliope 

he could go, and hearing the whistle blowing, and 
getting off of the trestle to solid ground just in time, 
with the earth trembling beneath his feet, and feeling 
relieved as he ran down the cinder-strewn embank- 
ment onto the highway, and looking back and seeing 
with terror that the train had left the tracks and was 
following him right down the middle of the street, 
and all the white people laughing as he ran scream- 
ing.... (p. 407). 

This dream shows how the protagonist has attempted futilely to free himself 
from the dangers of being black and poor. He realizes that his cause has 
followed him even where he thought that it would not, just as the train 
followed him off the track. 

The "King" makes another important realization after he wins the 
bingo game, and he is on the stage. He realizes 

that his whole life [had been] determined by the 
bingo wheel; not only that which would happen now 
that he was at last before it, but all that had gone 
before, since his birth, and his mother's birth, and 
the birth of his father. (p. 408) 

The protagonist realizes that he has always been playing the "game of life," 
as had his mother and father before him, and the odds of winning are 
always very bad. Ironically, at the end of the story, the wheel lands on the 
winning number, but again, as always, he loses. 

In all three stories, at least one character is definitely victimized - if not 
by one person, as in "The Blue Hotel," then by many, as in "The Lottery" 
and "King of the Bingo Game." In the first two stories, the protagonist 
was directly responsible for his or her own downfall. In the last story, this is 
not the case. Each story exhibits the results of collaboration or victimiza- 
tion ~ or both. 

Citations are found in James H. Pickering and Jeffrey D. Hoeper's 
Literature (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1982). 

Calliope, 47 


48, Calliope 


Anna Crowe Dewart 

So, he was dead. He'd done it: drunk and smoked himself into the Ely- 
sian Fields. I hoped he was happy; I wasn't. I felt cheated. I'd waited for 
years, hoping to catch up with him again and share all that had happened in 
the twenty-five years since he had been my mentor. There have been others: 
many, especially if one considers humanity as a whole; very few that have 
been truly unique. Henry Lindstrom had been both unique and the first. 

It was his car that was the first sign I noticed of his presence. I'd never 
seen anything like it. It was tiny, a dull olive-drab color, and a peculiar 
shape. I peered down into it and couldn't believe my eyes - it was strewn 
with crumpled Lucky Strike packages - did anyone smoke that much? I 
walked all around it, wondering who in the world it could belong to, then 
rushed off to class and forgot all about it. 

Later in the year I passed him in the hall. Our eyes met. He gave me a 
big wink like some senior devil might to his apprentice. I was appalled. 
"Who is that man," I asked, turning to my friend. "I mean, I know he's a 
teacher and all that, but . . .?" She replied, "Oh, that's Mr. Lindstrom. 
He's new this year; teaches Senior English Honors ~ weird." The rest of 
that year I would look for him in the halls, then do my best to ignore him if 
I saw him. 

One day after school, toward the end of the school year, I was going to 
meet my mother. There he was, loping in his slouching manner right down 
the hall toward me. I panicked. This was ridiculous. I didn't even know 
the man. But when out of my terror I heard him stop and ask me who I 
was, what grade I was in, I found myself quite calmly looking straight into 
his blue eyes and saying, "I'm Mrs. Young's daughter, Molly. I'm a 
sophomore but hope to skip next year. I only have two junior credits to 
take and can do them over the summer by correspondence from the Univer- 
sity." Smiling, eyes friendly, but deadly serious, he said, "I'm Mr. Lind- 
strom, teach Senior English. Maybe I'll see you next year." He turned 
abruptly and strode off down the hall. 

I couldn't wait for school to start the next fall. I had made English 
Honors. Not only that, I was in his class. Then, there I was, sitting, trying 
to make small talk with my friends, rapping my pencil on the desk. Where 
was he? 

He entered the room with no salutation, in mid-sentence, his compell- 
ing, nicotine ridden actor's voice in staccatto ~ ". . . and I don't care, don't 
want mentioned within this room, will not discuss with any one of you, 
what a noun, verb, subject, pronoun, dangling participle, prepositional 
phrase, ad-nauseum, is, or how they are used. If you didn't know English 
grammar you wouldn't be here; if you think you've forgotten during the 
summer, you may be excused ~ now. Please open your books to page 133. 
This is a poem by an anonymous, Sixteenth Century writer ~ probably a 
soldier." I was spellbound; at last this intense curiosity was to find some 
sort of gratification. 

Calliope, 49 

I couldn't work hard enough, couldn't wait to get to class, couldn't 
wait to get my papers back. It was a sweet hurting anxiety of creative ef- 
fort, again and again. He chided, he paced back and forth across the 
classroom; he revealed it all. He knew the origin and background of the 
words; their change in usage, how, when, why they had become accepted or 
used pejoratively. That was what the energy was about - the sharing of 
knowledge, stretching, growing! 

Yes, I'd grown fond of that fine dark hair, could hardly bear the inten- 
sity of his eyes. When he didn't wear his usual uniform of grey slacks, white 
shirt and soft, worn, burgundy corduroy jacket ~ its sleeves, of necessity, 
patched at the elbows -- I was crushed. And how he got away with it in a 
predominately Mormon school, I'll never know - but there, always roun- 
ding a hip pocket of his trousers, was his wine flask (endearing, daring 

I was in love, I admit it, but it wasn't the man by himself. It was the 
towering presence of knowledge carried in such a strong but slight man who 
stood just taller than myself. It was his manner of pouring it all out as if we 
might all die at any moment ~ all the words with their reflective beauty and 
capacity for "telling" lost, with no ears to hear, no hearts to interpret. 

It was also a life-style. One day when I didn't have my car, I asked for 
a ride into town. He invited me into his house to meet his wife and young 
son. I accepted with fear and elation. He called, as we walked in the door, 
"Lucy, Beasley, I've brought someone to meet you." The arome of baking 
bread permeated the spotless, Spartan, book-lined living room. A huge 
desk, pressed up against a window, carried small stacks of more books, 
papers, a lamp with its shade covered with jotted notes pinned to it, an 
ashtray with cigarette ends spilling out over its sides; it gave a contrasting 
impressions of being respectfully and lovingly untouched when the rest of 
the room was cleaned. 

He led me on into the kitchen and there, bent over, taking fresh 
homemade crescent rolls from the over, was his wife. When she stood up 
and turned toward us I was struck by the simplicity of her un-made-up 
beauty, young, bright in her slight, refined form. "Lucy -- Molly, Molly 
-Lucy," he introduced us. Gesturing toward a sturdy, shining baby boy 
playing on the clean linoleum floor, "Beasley Bones, euphonism for Beastly 
Bones ~ he was huge and hard for her to have." 

In the corner of the kitchen was a wooden booth, built cafe-style into a 
nook, with a huge jug of red wine sitting on the floor beneath one seat. 
"Have a seat. Would you like a glass of wine?" Then he corrected himself 
saying, "Ah, no, not 'til you've graduated, my young friend," and 
laughing to Lucy, continued, "I've robbed one cradle already, no need to 
corrupt another." The newness of it all; a whole new atmosphere - travel 
posters and favorite pictures tacked to the wall, potted plants flowering in- 
the window, books everywhere, classical music playing - I had come home. 

I rode home with him many times that year; soaking it all in, learning 
about the "Northeast," Dartmouth, where he had taught and courted 
Lucy, -- stories of his trudging across the snow-laden campus to her apart- 
ment to lie before a fire and listen to Gregorian Chants. He had studied in 
England. He had acted off Broadway. He knew Susan Strasbourg. It was 
overwhelming and something in me was starved. I couldn't get enough. 
Like some kind of echo of Socrates, he made me a disciple, an apprentice in 
living, a conspirator in learning. 

50, Calliope 

When summer came I would spend whole days with them, but 
treasured most are the evenings on the screened-in porch, finally drinking 
my first glasses of wine, occasionally daring to smoke a cigarette. Our only 
light was a flickering candle stuck in a favorite wine bottle. I listened to him 
talk of things to come in my life as if he were telling me into being. He was 
relentless in his demands to make me think, seek the right questions, express 
my own impressions, ideas, opinions, and build my own sense of values. 

One evening, just a week before I was to leave for college, he walked 
me to my car. He ushered me in and after he had very carefully shut the 
door, he bent over, reached in and cradled the back of my head firmly and 
gently in his hand - as we looked into one another we became one being. 
He didn't kiss me; it was the only time we ever touched. It was as if that ex- 
quisite burning desire - in him, to teach, in me, to learn ~ was held there in 
a moment completely outside time to exist forever. 


Have you had your fill of rice today? 

How many mouths must you feed? 
First born daughter child 

Just practice for first child 
Ancient Ancestral altar made 

Red with neon light 
Where the spirits of my spirits 

Rest away from the color T.V. 
Grandmother quick come out from 

Rice fields I want a computer 
You speak English-everyone knows 

English is the yellow brick road to.. .is Oz in Asia? 
Don't chew too many beetle nuts 

They stain your teeth 
American candy is too sweet 

No, I don't believe in your Jesus 
Buddah is much wiser 

It's never mind - tigers, tigers, horses, horses 
We all spring from the middle kingdom 

Japan has a Magic Kingdom. 

V. Seeger 

Calliope, 51 


Flo Powell 

Mr. Smith was a big man in his early sixties. He was over six feet tall 
and weighed two hundred and twenty pounds. His pleasant, even features 
were accented by smile wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. He would lie 
on his side, propped on one elbow, his head supported by a massive hand. 
Jet black hair, speckled only slightly with gray, covered his head. Horn- 
rimmed glasses framed benevolent dark brown eyes that were full of humor. 
He spoke with a fine resonant voice that was often broken with rich 
laughter at his own jokes. As I tended to my nurse's aide duties in his 
hospital room, he told me he had been a railroad man for thirty years. We 
talked of families, gardens, and travel. 

His wife and at least one of his four children were with him constantly. 
More ailing patriarch now than husband and father, he displayed a quiet 
strength that made him a precious part of their lives. They attended his 
needs, giving all they could, nurturing him as he had nurtured them. 

Mr. Smith had been a diabetic for many years. He had been admitted 
for treatment when his diabetes had become uncontrollable. Weakened by 
this, he found it difficult to breathe when he exerted himself. Despite his 
weakness, his family was optimistic. Tests would be done, the diabetes cur- 
tailed, and all would be well. I left the floor a few days after meeting him 
with the same optimism, convinced that Mr. Smith and I would never meet 

Two months later, I assumed a permanent position on the onocology 
floor of St. Joseph's Hospital. It was a difficult adjustment. Cancer en- 
compasses the entire spectrum of human physiology and, as a nursing stu- 
dent, I became involved intellectually. While I was impressed with my abili- 
ty to apply my newly learned knowledge of anatomy, I was shocked by the 
impotence of the medical profession in its fight against cancer. 

This was a hectic floor as nurses and aides raced to ' 'maintain" their 
patients. Few are cured. Machines fill the hospital rooms. Infusion pumps 
click rhythmically as they measure out liquid nourishment in one room and 
toxic chemotheraputic drugs in another. Their alarms go off every ten of 
fifteen minutes, beckoning a nurse to read the computerized messages that 
flash across the screens in yellow, blue or red. Respiratory therapists haul 
in breathing equipment in an effort to clear congested lungs. Oxygen bub- 
bles through plastic bottles of water at the head of every bed. Tubes fill 
natural and unnatural orifices perpetually draining and filling, draining and 

It is a battlefield with few survivors. While the silent parasite ravages 
its victim, those who wait also suffer. The battle may be long or short, but 
the odds are set and the nurse knows from the first skirmish who the victor 
will probably be. 

The hall is hushed when a patient is dying. The idle chatter in the 
nurse's station and lounge stops. Only the slight squeak of rubber soles on 

52, Calliope 

the linoleum tiles breaks the quiet. It would seem that the very air is 
suspended as if any movement would disturb the vacillating life that is being 
drawn towards death. Often two or three die within hours of each other. 
Time becomes a border around a great empty space. 

In September of that year Mr. Smith became my patient again. It had 
been five months since I had seen him. His diagnosis was lung cancer. 

Mr. Smith was in the terminal stages of his disease. The man who 
greeted me now had undergone a terrible metamorphosis. Deep creases had 
replaced the smile lines around his eyes and mouth. His features were 
sunken; his face had thinned. His tanned skin had taken on a yellow pallor; 
the sad, painful figure, still on one side, struggled for breath. Gone was his 
fine, resonant voice; he could barely speak above a whisper. 

While I cared for him I would take his hand and lean down close to his 
face to hear what he was saying. He would rasp out some well-chosen com- 
ment or request. Eventually even this became too much of an effort and he 
was silent. He was totally dependent on us to anticipate his every need. 

Once again his family gathered at his bedside. They slept in chairs or 
on the floor beside him and at least one of them was always with him. They 
feared the loss of him and physically and emotionally clung to him as if this 
could prevent his ultimate departure. I had a great affection for this gentle 
and once strong man; it saddened me to see this change in him. 

There was very little any of us could do for Mr. Smith. He was given 
intravenous fluids in an attempt to stabilize his electrolyte and fluid 
balance, his pain medication was adjusted, and he was discharges after 
about three weeks. I felt that this would be our last meeting. But just 
before Thanksgiving, he returned. The final struggle had begun. Now Mr. 
Smith's silence was broken only by the bubbling "death rattles" that em- 
phasized his every breath. His eyes were wide with terror. He was drown- 
ing in his own fluids. 

Days went by and Mr. Smith succumbed and waited. We all waited. 
The day before Thanksgiving, the rales stopped and his respiration became 
slows, shallow and quiet, with intermittent periods of apnea. The hand I 
held now was cold, damp and flaccid. His eyes showed no pain, no more 
terror. He was ready. 

Early one afternoon his son came to the nurse's station. "My father is 
damp. I'd like for someone to change his bed and gown." he said. 

The charge nurse moved close to him. "Is he very uncomfortable?" 
she asked. "I'd rather not move him any more than we have to." 

"He's wet," the son answered. "I don't want him to be cold." He left 
the station. 

The charge nurse looked at me. "Make the family leave the room 
when you change him," she said. 

I called for the male attendant. The orderly that night was a rough 
man, outwardly devoid of compassion. His total dislike of his work and the 
resentment he felt towards this obligation were directed towards his patients 
and workmates equally. But I would need his strength to change Mr. 

When the orderly arrived I gathered clean sheets and a clean gown and 
we walked to the room together. We rolled Mr. Smith onto his right side as 
I stripped off the old sheets and replaced them with clean ones. He was 
swollen with fluids that his body could not release, and he had little stength 

Calliope, 53 

to maneuver his large cumbersome limbs. We had watched as one body 
system after another had shut down. Only his skin worked now and in an 
effort to compensate it poured out liters of cold perspiration. The 
bedclothes would not be dry for long. 

When I had tucked in the new sheets, we turned Mr. Smith onto his left 
side towards me and the orderly pulled the sheets from underneath him. 
His gaze settled on my face. His eyes were fixed, all emotion, all evidence 
of his pain, gone from them. Suddenly, his respirations slowed and stop- 

"Please, Mr. Smith," I prayed, "please don't go on me now!" I look- 
ed at my watch, counting, five seconds, ten seconds. "Wait!" I shouted to 
the orderly. 

The orderly stopped and looked up from his work. Mr. Smith's 
breathing began again, almost as if I had called him back. The orderly 
continued. Minutes passed and again Mr. Smith's breathing stopped. 

"Mr. Smith!" I called. Another fifteen seconds had passed. He sighed 
and began to breathe. Wearily, he looked up at me. I longed for the order- 
ly to finish with the mounds of pads and drawsheets. 

When Mr. Smith's respirations stopped for the third time my panic 
became even more desperate. "Stop!" I yelled. "Forget about finishing, 
let's get his head up!" We moved Mr. Smith onto his back and put his head 
up on pillows and his breathing returned. I straigthened the bottom sheets. 

"You can leave now," I told the orderly. "I'll finish him." Relieved, 
the orderly left the room. I changed the soaked gown and topsheets alone. 
The room was silent except for the quiet struggling sounds of Mr. Smith's 
breathing and the weak bubbling of the oxygen above his head. I hung on 
each breath as I finished the bed. 

When everything was in place, I took his hand. "Mr. Smith," I asked, 
"are you comfortable now?" The words were empty and stupid and I 
realized that as soon as I blurted them. They served to emphasize how truly 
helpless we both were. 

The fragility of life, all life, my life, was so cruelly obvious at that mo- 
ment. The air was heavy and oppresive with the reality of death nd the im- 
permanence of every object in that room, and even the room itself. 

I left the room and turned down the empty hall towards the nurse's sta- 
tion. I felt relief that I would not be present when Mr. Smith's time came. 
Halfway down the hall I turned and impulsively returned to his room. I 
stood at the door looking in at him and, without touching him, I knew that 
he was dead. 

I shut the door and walked over to the bed. His eyes were closed. It 
almost seemed that he had waited to die privately. I took his hand in mine; 
there was no more muscle tonicity, and his hand was stiff yet yeilding. The 
large hands were gray, the nailbeds blue. I felt for a pulse first in his wrist 
and then with my stethoscope just under his heart. There was no pulse nor 
were there breath sounds. I rang the buzzer for the nurse. 

"May I help you?" came the voice through the intercom. 

"Send a nurse down here, please," I answered. 

The charge nurse appeared immediately and we examined the body 
together. She turned down the I.V. to a slow four or five drips a minute and 
she left to tell the family who had been waiting in the visitors' area. 

Mr. Smith's family fathered outside his room. They sobbed quietly as 
the charge nurse spoke to them. Their grief was quiet, personal. I watched 

54, Calliope 

them from the nurse's station. All four children had their father's dark hair 
and olive skin. Their faces, though distorted by sadness, retained their in- 
herent dignity. I felt a rush of emotion as I looked at their dark sensitive 
eyes, their father's eyes. Now I turned away feeling unable to control my 
own emotion. 

Some minutes later the eldest daughter came to the door of the station. 
She told the nurse of the arrangements that had been made for Mr. Smith's 
body. They she turned to me. ' 'Please tell me," she said, her voice shak- 
ing, "was the end? Was it . . .?" 

"Easy?" I asked gently. She nodded. "Yes," I said, "it was very 
easy. He just stopped breathing." 

"I had to ask," she sobbed. "I needed to know." 

I went into the nurse's lounge. I felt a huge responsibility for Mr. 
Smith's death. Precious moments had been taken from him by moving 
him. It was a burden that I couldn't remove with logic. Another nurse join- 
ed me. "Mr. Smith's gone?" she asked. 

"Yes," I answered. "I guess changing him was more than he could 
bear. I wish we hadn't done it." 

"It's the chance you take," she said. "Every time we give the large 
doses of medications the doctors order for all these patients with failing 
lungs, we wait. The end comes when it comes. What you do means very lit- 
tle. You will work hardest at protecting yourself." 

In the year since Mr. Smith's death, I have cared for many patients. 
During their months of chemotherapy we have exchanged small portions of 
our lives and become friends. When they die I am mercifully occupied with 
the work that is left to be done. 

Each death brings to my quieter moments a feeling of personal loss. 
Another life existed and is no more. What I have learned to accept is that 
there is for me no coming to terms with the death of an individual. Nursing 
is an occupation of giving and caring tempered with the knowledge that in 
our mutual struggle for life and health we are as vulnerable as those for 
whom we struggle. 

Calliope, 55 


Brian Poythress 

Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill" is a soliloquy, rich in imagery, in which 
lost innocence is recalled. Thomas makes much use of alliteration in his 
metaphors throughout the work, pairing green with golden, simple with 
stars, and white with wanderer. He repeats the duo of green and grass to 
achieve different effects. The narrator's childhood was carefree and happy; 
he was immortal in his innocence. The world he lived in was beautiful, ver- 
dant - a safe and simple place. It was his world, his possession. He was lord 
of all he surveyed, and all things danced to his tune. His childhood 
memories remain, made perhaps more poignant by his awareness of his own 
mortality and insignificance. 

The child's attitude toward his world was an egocentric one. The world 
was his; he was "prince of the apple towns," "huntsman and herdsman"; 
he was "famous among the barns." His pastoral surroundings provided 
him with material for heroic fantasies, and for him the roles he played were 

The farm (the world) existed for him and because he existed. Each 
night, "As I rode to sleep," the farm vanished. With his awakening "the 
farm, like a wanderer white with the dew, come back" was recreated for 
him. Where the farm had gone during the night was not important; that it 
was reborn for him anew and anon was sufficient. 

The simplicity of the child's perceptions, his unquestioning acceptance 
of what his senses told him, is evident in "the nightjars, flying with the 
ricks," and in "the whinnying green stable." Stables and ricks, of in- 
animate wood, of course neither speak not fly. But the child heard the 
sounds, and for him, ricks could take wing, and barns neigh. 

His simple world was a safe one as well. Each night as he "rode to 
sleep" with owls "bearing the farm away," he slept secure in the aegis of in- 
nocence. [The owl is the symbol of Pallas Athena, the protector.] 

The illustrations of the child's viewpoint continue. He saw "Fields as 
high as the house," the golden grain of the fields towering over him as did 
the imposing bulk of the house. He perceived each clearly, each bigger than 
he, but saw no need to differentiate between the two. This is the altered 
perception of the small child, as opposed to the personifications of the 
stable and the ricks. 

Green appears as a metaphor again and again in "Fern Hill." It is used 
to represent youth, inexperience, and innocence. The narrator was "green 
and carefree," "young and easy," and happy, as "happy as the grass was 

Thomas also uses green in a denotative sense. There is the green of 
"the apple boughs," the verdure of 'daisies and barley," and again the 
grass around the house. These greens of springtime and summer are, as are 
innocence and youth, ephemeral. The short-lived green of youth is also 
referred to in the last lines of the poem, where the narrator tells us that 
"Time held me green and dying." 
56, Calliope 

The man the narrator has become expounds, in his ruminations on his 
youth, on the wonder of creation and celebrates life. The light in the line 
"Down the rivers of the windfall light" can be seen as the light of creation. 
Another reference to light appears in the lines dealing with the farm's 
return, "Shining, it was Adam and maiden." The image recurs in "And the 
sun grew round that very day." 

All the elements of Genesis are present in the seventh and eighth stan- 
zas. The sun is followed by "the sky gathered again," then Adam and Eve 
appear. The Biblical sequence is followed as sun, sky, and life appear. As 
in the beginning legend, order comes from chaos, with "the birth of the 
simple light/ In the first, spinning place." God created first the beasts, 
Genesis tells us, then man. The "spellbound horses walking warm" might 
be seen as the first animals, and "the fields of praise" could easily be taken 
as the Garden of Eden. 

Lines seventeen through twenty-two present a celebration of the 

"And the sabbath rang slowly 

In the pebbles of the holy streams. 

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay. 

Fields as high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys 

it was air 

And playing, lovely and watery, 

And fire green as grass." 

The elements are intermingled, fire moving as might air move, and 
described as "watery." The elements are life, the world all of a piece, view- 
ed as an harmonious whole. The "it" in "it was running" can be seen as 
life itself. 

The child that the narrator brings back in his reverie saw each day as a 
new creation, another sabbath. The child, in his innocence, was like Adam 
and Eve, the "Adam and maiden" of line thirty. He was without sin, and 
immortal. As they fell literally from Grace, so did the child fall, each pay- 
ing the penalty for knowledge. The child is all of us, one of the "children 
green and golden" who "Follow him out of grace." The "him" that the 
children follow is time. 

Thomas personifies time, naming him five times. He is alternately kind 
and indulgent, remorseless and cruel. "Time let me hail and climb," "Time 
let me play and be golden." Time allowed the child to be a child, let him en- 
joy youth as he "ran my heedless ways." Time could afford to indulge him, 
because time would win. 

The references to time prepare the reader for the final lines and the last 
personification in the poem. Time had let him play "In the sun that is 
young once only," and the child did not care that "time would take me." 
The reference to the "children green and golden" indicates a recognition 
that we are all subject to time, that we are all mortal, all insignificant. We 
must all one day "wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land." 

The last two lines of "Fern Hill" form a conclusion. "Time held me 
green and dying/ Though I sang in my chains like the sea." reveals the nar- 
rator's realization that life and death are inseoerable. As the sea is held in 

Calliope, 57 

chains by the land, both its opposite and compliment, so is life by death en- 
chained. Each gives meaning and definition to the other, as do light and 

If there is a message to be gleaned from this work, it is not only that 
none of us will get out of it (life) alive, but that life is all we have. We 
should live it to the fullest while we can. 


Margaret Brockland 

While many people fish for food, a great number of us, sport 
fishermen, trophy-hunters, and Saturday trollers, do so simply for enter- 
tainment. Because most of us are gentle, harmless creatures, I can only con- 
clude that if people realized the cruelty of sport fishing, then they would 
refrain from practising it. In an effort to increase the awareness of such 
people, I ask you to put yourself in the fish's place. Imagine that you are a 
hungry young trout, gliding silently through the cool waters of a salty 
Georgia creek. You notice a faint, white blur drifting a short distance 
ahead of you~a meal-sized shrimp. Eager and unsuspecting, you grab it, 
planning to swallow the creature in a gulp before it realizes what has hap- 
pened, when suddenly you feel an excruciating pain in your mouth and you 
find that you cannot swallow your would-be breakfast. Fighting for all you 
are worth, you are nevertheless pulled toward the surface of the waters, 
toward that awful void in which the murderously hot, heavy winds blow. 
The roof of your mouth is torn and bleeding, but you still cannot free 
yourself. At the surface you are hauled into the bright light, driven into 
frenzy when you leave the buoyancy of the water and your resulting weight 
increase redoubles the pain in your mouth and echoes it with an ache in your 
besmothered gills. A dry, rough blanket wraps around you and you are 
lifted and turned over a few times, and then the barb is twisted and snatched 
from your face. You fall into the cold water again, feeling the salt that 
ruthlessly bites at your wound. As the subsequent days pass you cannot eat 
with your mangled mouth and a white, prickly infection spreads across your 
sides in the places where that dry roughness touched your scales. Whether 
or not you heal and live to chance another such experience, your tiny body 
struggles to recover and your mind can only wonder, "Why?" 

58, Calliope 

Roses blooming silently in effortless array, 

Sunlight trying desperately to penetrate the day, 

Wall-to-wall sensations echo through my mind 

As a girl who never knew you throws tears into the wind. 

Listening to the crashing blows of treacherous pretenses, 
Hard, hungry syllables that beat against my senses, 
Feeling pain despite the sway of pointless alcohol, 
Apathetic clothing starts its long, revealing, fall. 

Tranquil, lovely face that I will evermore adore, 

Beauty bathed in blackness as the earth resumes its door, 

But Spirit! - Spirit, run fast, run free! 

And as I offer you my hand, please pause to wait for me. 

Lynn Nerrin 

Calliope, 59 


Vicki Hill 

The shadowy green woods rustled complacently, settling in for another 
humid night. The sharp staccato shriek of a jay and the solemn woodwind 
tones of a whip-poor-will competed for dominance of the oppresive late- 
afternoon silence, but did nothing to disturb the molasses-like malaise that 
hung heavy in the air like a coming storm. Encroaching pines stood like 
grave sentinels over a tiny wooden shack set between the vaguely menacing 
woods and a narrow dirt road. Muscular vines of wisteria embraced the 
shack's rusted tin roof, threatening to crush what already sagged beneath 
the weight of time. 

On the rude wooden porch a one-eyed yellow Tom-cat lay somnolently 
watchful, only the occasional flick of its ears betraying it as alive. Nearby 
an old woman sat creaking in a rocking chair and lackadaisically fanning 
herself with a cardboard fan showing a blurred, four-color picture of Jesus 
on one side and an advertisement for a funeral home on the other. As she 
rocked, she contemplated with affectionate sternness the little girl who sat 
on the steps before her dangling her bare feet in the red Georgia earth. The 
girl, round eyes glowing with anticipation as she quietly awaited the story 
she knew was to come, clung with sweaty hands to the rough wooden box in 
her lap. Beneath the porch, a rasping rainfrog began to chant his rythmic 

Without warning, the old woman cleared her throat noisely and spat 
over the edge of the porch. The cat started up in alarm, then settled back 
down reluctantly, after shooting the woman an accusing look with its one 
good eye. 

"Give me the story-box, girl," the old woman said, reaching out her 
gnarled hands. "I'll see what I can find to tell you about today." 

The girl watched intently as the woman's crooked fingers clumsily 
worked the latch, opened the box, and slowly sifted through the articles 
contained in it, her face contorting in vivid remembrance. The girl saw and 
recognized several things from earlier tales: a crumbling yellow newspaper 
clipping, a creased, sepia-toned photograph of a young man, a bit of stain- 
ed lace, a strand of green glass beads. Each of these items recalled to her 
mind one of her grandmother's colorful stories of the past with the quick- 
shifting intensity of a slide projection. 

The woman's hand emerged from the box finally, holding a tiny brown 
package tied up with a bit of string. 

4 'I reckon today I'll tell you about the time me and my daddy watched 
the hanging. I don't reckon you'll understand all of it, but there's a lesson 
to it, so you listen good, you hear?" 

At the girl's eager nod, the old woman frowned, then began. 

"Well, it was like this. Me and my daddy were going to town one mor- 
ning. It was nearly five miles, and we had to walk the whole way. I must 
have been about your age; you're ten, ain't that right? Yes." She paused, a 
look of intense reflection on her face. 

60, Calliope 

"Well, anyway, we were walking down the road when all of a sudden 
we saw this crowd of people coming round the bend towards us. Must have 
been twenty or thirty of them, hollering and shouting and stirring up a great 
cloud of dust so you could see and hear them way off. Some of the women 
were crying, and a bunch of scrawny, shirt-tail younguns were running 
along beside, picking up rocks and slinging them into the midst of the 
crowd, laughing and carrying on like they was on a holiday. The whole 
crowd was too far away for us to see what all the excitement was about, but 
daddy says to me, he says, 'You stick close to me, now. We're gonna see 
what this ruckus is all about.' " 

Her mouth twitched into a half-smile at the remembrance of her long- 
dead father's words; the girl sat motionless, patient. 

"When we got up close enough to be heard, my daddy halloed to the 
men and asked them what had happened. 

" 'We done caught us a nigger,' a man wearing dirty overalls and a 
greasy hat told us. 'He's the one what they say raped the Watson girl.' 

" 'Yeah,' another said. 'And we aim to make him pay, and pay good.' 

She stopped, fingering her chin ruminatively. 

"I knew about the Watson girl. She was older than me, but I had seen 
her around, at church mostly. She was a real pretty girl, as I remember. At 
least, she was before the trouble. Seems they'd found her in the woods, her 
dress all torn, and she'd told them what had happened. That had been two 
or three days before, and some of the neighbor men had been laying for that 
nigger all the time since, waiting to catch him. I was too young then to 
know what it was all about exactly, but I knew from the way folks was ac- 
ting that it was pretty serious business. Yessir, serious business. She never 
was quite right after that." 

With unexpected violence, the old woman sprang forward from her 
chair and swatted an insect with her fan. "Darn yellow-fly's been biting me 
all afternoon," she explained, settling back down. The girl reached out and 
absently thumped the squashed fly off the edge of the porch, a preoccupied 
look on her face. 

"Anyway, as we were standing there talking, one of the women in the 
crowd started to wail and cry out, and we looked over at her. 

" 'That there's poor old Mrs. Watson, the girl's ma,' the first man told 
us. 'She's come along to watch us hang this black bastard. Says she won't 
sleep again till she sees him swing. Can't say as I blame her.' " The old 
woman nodded, crafty and knowing. 

"Daddy pushed through the crowd a ways, dragging me along, so we 
could get a look at the man they had caught. We had to fight it pretty rough 
to get through that mob, but then suddenly we were before him. I 
remember it so good, just like yesterday. There he stood: big and black and 
scary-looking, his hands tied behind his back and his feet looped together 
with somebody's belt. Two men were holding their rifles to him, and the lit- 
tle boys were pelting him with rocks and sticks from all sides. But that nig- 
ger never moved a muscle, just stood there looking straight ahead, proud as 
a king." She paused pensively, her eyes doubtful, then resolvedly con- 

"I remember wondering how they found out he was the man; I guess 

Calliope, 61 

they knew what they were doing. I tried to ask daddy, but he just shook his 
head at me, like he was angry. I told him I felt sorry for the man, even if he 
was black. 

" 'You ought not feel any more sorry for him than for a mad dog,' he 
told me. 'He's a vicious cur, and he has to be put down, for the sake of all 
of us.' 

" Tts God's will!' a wild-eyed young man in the crowd shouted. I 
recognized him to be the Reverend Taylor's boy. There were a few mur- 
murs of 'Amen,' and the rest of the people just nodded their heads in agree- 

"I looked up into that colored's face and I knew right then that they 
were right. He was scowling at me so mean and fierce, I felt all my pity for 
him dry up inside me. I was so scared, I almost wanted to run off into the 
woods to get away from him, even if he was tied up. I didn't no more 
understand what 'rape' meant than you do, but I sure had sense enough to 
know it couldn't be good. Yessir, I remember it like yesterday. I tell you, I 
was scared." She looked at the girl with sidelong intensity, as if trying to 
judge her reaction. 

The yellow Tom-cat stirred lazily, snapping diffidently at a fly buzzing 
around its ears, then resumed its sphinx-like posture. 

The little girl sat frowning, unable to comprehend her grandmother's 
words. As she dug her toes into the soft clay, her grandmother's words dug 
into the fertile soil of her young imagination, spoiling her usually sunny 
child's face with a dark and troubled shadow of age. Her thoughts were in- 
terrupted as the old woman resumed her tale. 

"We followed along with the crowd till we came to the spot picked out 
for the hanging. By then there must have been fifty or sixty people with us, 
and more coming all the time. Somebody had brought a noose-rope, and 
they slung it over the limb of a big china-berry tree beside the road. I 
remember it was a china-berry tree because I was barefoot, and the dry ber- 
ries hurt my feet. Somebody else had an old apple-crate, so they stood it on 
end and put the colored man, still tied up, on top of it and dropped the 
noose over his head. He didn't move or say a word, just stood there on that 
crate looking at the ground and scowling meaner than ever. The man in the 
hat asked him did he have any last words to say before he was hung. He still 
didn't say nothing, just lifted up his head to look at us all. His chest was 
heaving like he was winded, but his proud black face didn't show anything 
as he calmly spat at the man in the hat. Then one of the women screamed 
and the next thing we knew the Taylor boy had done run up and kicked that 
crate right out from under him." 

The girl's eyes clouded; her grandmother cleared her throat and went 

"He never made a sound, except a little gurgling noise. I heard his 
neck snap, and everybody cheered, and then he was just hanging there, 
swaying a little, his eyes and tongue bulging out and the flies lighting on 
him. A dog started to growl and snap at his feet swinging there. The man in 
the hat kicked him, and he went away whining. 

"Just then one of the boys ran up and, with a wild yell, started to chop 
off one of the dead nigger's fingers with his pocket-knife. It didn't come 
off easy, but that boy was determined, and managed to take it off at the se- 
cond joint. He said he was keeping it for a trophy, and started running 
around showing it to people and scaring the girls. I'll never forget the look 

62, Calliope 

on that boy's face: all proud and manly-like. It's a good thing for a boy to 
see justice at work first hand like that. Keeps him from getting any funny 
notions. Anyway, he must have given all of them an idea, cause then all the 
men started in to cutting parts off that body for momentos. By time my 
daddy got close enough, there wasn't much left except a couple of toes, but 
he got one for me anyway, and I kept it safe all these years." The old 
woman ceased her speech with a final, judgemental nod, a hideous yellow 
grin splitting her weathered face obscenelv. 

With sick mesmerization, the little girl watched her grandmother slow- 
ly unwinding the brown paper package. The old woman held out a two-inch 
stump of petrified black flesh, her eyes glowing with pride. The girl took it 
and swung it gently back and forth on the bit of cotton string tied around it, 
torn between horror and fascination. Tears filled her eyes; tears of shame, 
of mourning barely comprehended for ideals lost before fully formed. The 
roar of the past in her ears drowned out her grandmother's voice as in the 
distance a clap of thunder sounded an answering reverberation. 

The cat stretched lanquidly on the rough boards, jumped indifferently 
to the ground, and stalked away on sleep- and age-stiffened legs, throwing a 
glance of contemptuous deprecation over his shoulder at the grotesque 
tableau. As he disappeared from view, a gentle rain began to fall, washing 
the dust of the past and the tears of the future together into the river of life. 

Calliope, 63 

"My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, 
And I must pause till it come back to me." 

Your eyes, 

Yet not your eyes 

Look out at me 

From a face 

That is almost yours. 

Could she give them the life 

The wide-eyed devoted attention 

The facsimile of captivated fascination- 

If those eyes could illuminate the world 

And even I 

Perhaps, for a moment, she could bring you 

to me, 
Although I know she cannot 

Your hair 

Bounces, turns upon her head 
-Identical in hue- 
Distinguishing you from all others 
Proclaiming uniqueness in mind and spirit 
By the outward physical display. 

But though I remain obsessed with the memory 

of your surface features, 
The incomplete person within you plagues 

me most. 
Those feelings which sought refuge in concealment 
-The awareness which desperately sought 

alleviation through repress ion- 
The insecurities I touched... 

64, Calliope 

The greatest of frustrations has stifled my 

Your life, and therefore your 

Has been captured. 
And to put my pain in stupid, trite phrases 
Would lead me to say that 
Night has descended upon the sun 
And it will never rise again. 
To hope for comfort in empty promises of heaven 

is absurd. 
You had found heaven here- 
A better place... 



You took- 


And lastly, mostly, 

You took a portion of 


Into the earth with 


Lynn Nerrin 

Calliope, 65 

66, Calliope 

)c jt je jt n j< jc 

If you are interested in working on the 1986 Calliope 
staff, or in submitting work for consideration in that edition, 
please contact Dr. Richard Raymond in the Department of 
Languages, Literature and Dramatic Arts, Lower Floor, 
Gamble Hall. Calliope welcomes prose, poetry, and nonac- 
tion work in all fields, as well as photographs and sketches. 
All pieces submitted must be the work of students, staff, or 
faculty members of Armstrong State College. Work should 
be submitted by the end of Fall Quarter for best chance of 


Calliope, 67 

68, Calliope 


Your future. Your mind ... 
Our business 


m g STATE COLL t<jt 

Armstron g 

1935 1985 





- 1 

- USA 

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